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Cape Gazette
Lewes, Delaware
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November 15, 2002     Cape Gazette
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November 15, 2002
 

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12 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, Nov. 15 - Nov. 21, 2002 Land use plan Continued from page 1 innovative planning and design will be encouraged. The overall intent of the plan is to encourage high- er residential densities in and around town centers, with densities reducing as development moves out- ward from the center. Areas designated as growth areas include municipalities, town centers, develop- ing areas and the Environmentally Sensitive Developing Area. After a year of preparatory public workshops on updating the Sussex County Comprehensive Plan, citizens will have their final say on the 78-page, 8- map document at public hearings before county plan- ners, Nov. 21, and the county council, Dec. 3. Most of the input offered by citizens during dozens of workshops and two public hearings on the draft version has been included in the final document. Consultant Tom Shafer and County Administrator Bob Stickels explained during recent workshop ses- sions that all public concerns over zoning, density, commercial development and environmental preser- vation are reflected in the final plan. That final plan was introduced to county council in ordinance form, Oct. 29. It is currently available in hard copy for $10 at the county administrative build- ing in Georgetown or online at www.sussex coun- ty.net. Although the plan details a host of desired land use guidelines, it will have the force of law once it is adopted, which the county expects to do by mid- December. And once it is adopted, the Sussex The eastern Sussex County area surround- ing the inland bays will have an Enviornmen. tally Sensitive Developing Area requiring special enviornmental considerations when- ever a property is developed. As shown by the red dash marks, the sensitive area stretches up Route 1 from Rehoboth Beach to Over- brook. County Comprehensive Plan Update will determine how land is used over the next five years. The most important recommendations in the plan are: creation of an Environmentally Sensitive Developing Area around the inland bays and along Route 1 from Rehoboth Beach to Overbrook, allow clustering and minimum lot size to 7,500 square feet where there is central sewer, allow clus- tering to one-half acre lots in agricultural residential areas, improve the quality of development by revising community design standards, allow biotech campuses and agricultural related businesses in the agricultural residential areas, limit density of residential uses in commercial zones to four dwellings per acre for newly rezoned districts, and evaluate the need to increase buffer zone require- ments for tidal wetlands and the need to require a buffer zone for nontidal wetlands. As noted in the plan's executive summary on page 9: 'q'he Comprehensive Plan recommends major changes to the existing zoning regulations to provide for development and the preservation of agricultural land, however the pressure for development, the ris- ing value of land, and the property rights of land owners will make the viability of agriculture diffi- cult." To implement the plan, the zoning ordinance will have to be amended as follows: revise the agricultural residential zone to allow clustering and biotech campuses and ag-related busi- nesses; revise the medium residential and general resi- dential zones to allow clustering; create overlay zones for town centers, developing areas and the Environmentally Sensitive Developing Area; revise the C-I commercial zone to reduce resi- dential density and create a new commercial zone for large buildings; adopt open space requirements; and Continued on page 16