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April 28, 2017     Cape Gazette
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April 28, 2017

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W e hauled Nellie Lankford down the peninsula, across the Ches- apeake, and into North Caro- lina last week to see how spring is progressing. Just below The South Starts Here sign at a fire- works and cheap smokes store at the Maryland and Virginia line, we pulled into a Food Lion for provisions. A friendly and frumpy white- haired lady wandered across the parking lot toward us. Looking at our rig, she smiled. “Don’t know where you’re going, but I hope you have a good time,” she said. “I used to live in Oregon, and my husband and I loved boating on the lakes there. Very pretty. It was fun. We lived in Puerto Rico for a while too.” She was chatty. It was early. We rolled out of Lewes at 0500 to make the bay bridge tun- nel by 0800 and we were on schedule. Maybe her coffee was kicking in, but we didn’t care. She was sweet. “After my husband died I moved back here, to Birds Nest, where I grew up. Not sure why. Family maybe. I have a hard time explaining to people why I moved back to Birds Nest. Loved Oregon. I have a hard time figuring it out for myself.” We said our goodbyes; she headed off toward the food store and we rolled back out onto Route 13. We launched in Coinjock, on the Intracoastal Waterway, known to most boaters who travel up and down the East Coast as the ICW. On the dock at Coinjock Marina and Restau- rant, we pulled behind a trawler and tied up for lunch. Norman told us the migration is on. “They’re all coming back north now from Florida,” he said. The boating snowbirds are job security for the marina and restaurant employees. We ate a bunch of seafood for lunch - scallops, crab cake, salmon, shrimp and a fine piece of pollack - chased with cold Chardonnay and slices of Miss Nonny’s homemade coconut cake. The cole slaw and pickled beets were also excellent. I recommend that restaurant highly. Nothing fancy. Just clean and simple with a pretty and friendly waitress. In the Intracoastal Waterway, the migration is on Continued on page 8 DENNIS FORNEY PHOTO AT 22 FEET, Nellie Lankford, in the foreground here, is usually the smallest cruiser we see on our travels. But not at the Alligator River Marina. Ted and Brenda Bost, from Wrightsville Beach, had ducked into the marina during their journey between Wrightsville and Edenton. Their little diesel-powered cruis- er named Favrile - a sea-glass green - measures in at 21 feet. Bost said the ves- sel is a Bruce Roberts-designed longboat that makes about six or seven knots. Compact comes to mind. She’s in the next slip over, beyond Nellie. displaced, a scenario that is now being seen in many cities across the country. It takes as little as 10 percent of short-term rentals to change the economics of the housing market in a given area, and in Sussex, that number is 30 percent. The effect is likely even greater when you consider that rentals are disproportionately in the eastern part of the county. How can we use the tourism data to better understand growth and its impact on infrastructure? What is its effect on other ele- ments of Sussex County’s 2018 Comprehensive Plan, such as af- fordable housing? Could revenue from a rental tax be put toward the additional cost burdens and also provide for affordable hous- ing? Those preparing Sussex Coun- ty’s 2018 Comprehensive Plan should use all applicable data to fix what is not working and to get a true picture of our future needs. Susan Gay Rehoboth Beach Sussex needs to protect its wetlands I want to thank the Cape Gazette and Maddy Lauria for the informative and well-written article on Delaware wetlands in the April 21 paper. Wetlands pro- vide many vital functions that are not immediately obvious to us. It is shortsighted of Sussex County Council to ignore the need to protect this resource. I urge everyone to read this article. I ask fellow residents to communicate with our elected representatives about the importance of protecting environmental resources. I ask Sussex County Council to include plans for parks, open space and adequate environment protec- tion in the Comprehensive Plan. This is a public health issue, not a discretionary item. And, I ask the Cape Gazette to continue to publish articles exploring the impact of rapid, poorly planned, and unregulated development in Sussex County. Thoughtful and thorough planning works well for everyone, developers and residents alike. Perrin Smith Lewes Sussex must take charge of traffic issue The following letter was sent to members of Sussex County Council with a copy to the Sussex Planning & Zoning Commissioners, and a copy also submitted to the Cape Gazette. Sussex County residents and visitors are demanding that Sussex County better manage growth and its impacts, espe- cially traffic, and it is high time for the county government to step up and do the job for which residents elected them. Sussex County Council has the legal authority to ensure that the 2018 Comprehensive Plan, now being drafted by the Planning & Zoning Commission, contains a thorough and robust growth and traffic management plan, and it must exercise that authority. For years residents have been told by Sussex County officials there is nothing they can do about roads and traffic; DelDOT is responsible. That is not true. Delaware law is unequivocal in that all land use decisions, from zoning to road levels of service, are the sole responsibility of the local governing body. The Dela- ware Supreme Court recently up- held a March 2016 Superior Court Decision in Golf Course Assoc, LLC v. New Castle County, that reaffirmed that the county has the authority over planning and traffic issues by clearly stating, “The court finds that state law, ... as well as judicial precedent vest the county with final authority to decide whether traffic issues war- rant denial of a land use permit.” The council has long known it has this authority. The Mobility Element of the 2008 Comprehen- sive Plan states “Sussex County Council is responsible for all land use decisions in the unincorpo- rated areas of the County.” That includes the levels of service (how freely traffic flows) on pub- lic roads and highway regardless of who owns them. They simply have chosen to let someone else do it to the detriment of resi- dents’ quality of life. That must change. Letters to the editor dating back to the 1990s expressed concerns about traffic, and those concerns grow greater by the day and can no longer be ignored. At all of last fall’s county-wide planning & zoning listening ses- sions, residents countywide, from north and south and from east and west, raised their concerns about traffic loud and clear. A full 68 percent of folks indicated in their comments on various plan elements that transportation and lack of infrastructure are their number one concerns (25 percent - Transportation, 23 percent - Land Use, and 20 percent - Land Conservation). It is as unacceptable now as it was 30 years ago for Sussex County officials to point their fingers at and defer to DelDOT to set the county’s road level of ser- vice and development standards, particularly when DelDOT’s lev- els of service standards over the past three decades have not even come close to being adequate to manage Sussex County’s conges- tion. County Council must do the job for which we are paying them, managing development for the betterment of all of the county’s residents. The place to begin is with a strong, thoughtful comprehensive plan, focused on outcomes and impacts. The plan must recommend strong stan- dards regarding traffic mitiga- tion and control measures to be applied to new development and incorporate them into the Land Use, Mobility and Conservation elements. New development should enhance our quality of life, our mobility and our safety, not detract from it. The residents of the county deserve nothing less. The Planning & Zoning Com- mission is holding a new series of listening sessions on the new draft comprehensive plan throughout the county in May. We encourage everyone to take 10 minutes to go to one of those Letters » Continued from page 6 Dennis Forney » BAREFOOTIN’ W e went out for a beer Friday night. Heard a great band from Austin. Three guys playing original bluegrass with range from Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al” to Etta James’ “At Last.” The owner was there. He has a special ap- preciation for music. It’s reflected in the beer he brews: Miles Davis, and events he hosts: Record Store Days. He also appeared at his pub as part of a Rap duo! He’s about to end one chapter and begin a new one. In a few weeks Pat or one of the other wonderful folks behind the bar will draw the last pour. They’ll take down the old beer joint and we’ll all move next door to the glorious new beer palace! There’ll be a balcony, the artists will have their own green room and maybe it won’t be so darn cold when someone opens the front door in February! But my heart will rend. I’ve been going there regularly for almost all of the 20-some years it’s been there. The canoe, the row boat, the Pure sign, no clock! Its feel, its smell, the scruffy booths; he did get some new barstools a few years back. It’s nostalgia. Character of the community, some people will whine. Doesn’t fit in. But, we evolve. An expert came to town back in the fall and said change is going to happen; you can plan for it or you can just let it happen. The new place will look different. Hey, have you seen the new City Hall? Nostalgia is difficult to main- tan. It’s easy to lose control. It’s expensive. We must plan for the future, the expert said. And, actually, we have. But an even more important issue is com- munity investment. The new chapter could just as easily have begun out on the highway. All the aficionados and pilgrims could be lined up somewhere else. For the businesses west of City Hall as well as tourism citywide there’s going to be an even better anchor. The Funland for adults will continue to be an at- traction for all. It’ll be the new nostalgia. So relax, have a beer and listen to some music! Hoyte Decker Rehoboth Beach Nostalgia is difficult to maintain Cape Gazette VIEWPOINTS FRIDAY, APRIL 28 - MONDAY, MAY 1, 2017 7 Continued on page 8