GEORGETOWN — Sussex County’s vision for the future is now a reality.
Gov. John C. Carney has certified the Sussex County Comprehensive Plan, effective March 19, marking the official end to a more than two-year process to review and rewrite the county’s blueprint for the next generation.
In his April 1 letter, Gov. Carney said his approval follows a recommendation from the Cabinet Committee on State Planning Issues, and he thanked the county for its work with state officials throughout the process.
Sussex County Council in December adopted the plan, a 10-year update borne from scores of public meetings, workshops, and outreach that attracted hundreds of comments, suggestions, and ideas from residents, business owners, government officials and others.
“This is a momentous occasion for the county as we look forward to the future, one that will bring significant challenges but tremendous opportunity in the decade ahead,” Sussex County Administrator Todd F. Lawson said at the Dec. 4 council meeting.
“I am very proud of the work by the county council, the planning and zoning commission, our staff, the consultant, and frankly from the public during this two-year journey. It has been a community effort in the truest sense, and what we are left with is a vision I hope everyone is proud of.”
The 280-page plan, which will guide county officials in various levels of decision-making, yielded more than 100 strategies focused on everything from land use, conservation, and housing to transportation, utilities, and economic development, all of which will be considered for implementation through new ordinances and polices during the lifespan of the plan.
Key strategies included in the adopted plan are:
• Ways to preserve, promote and strengthen agriculture’s presence in the county, including through a possible agribusiness district that would add certain permitted ag-related support uses to low-density areas;
• Several initiatives to review and potentially overhaul the county’s land-use code, specifically measures that would focus on wetland protection, forestry preservation and water quality;
• Forming a county-level transportation committee, which would work with state officials to better monitor, coordinate and prioritize road projects;
• Establishment of economic development zones to focus job creation and private investment in and around targeted communities;
• Stimulating the construction of workforce/affordable housing through a review of existing impediments to such housing, and incentives, including the possibility of a community development fund.
Delaware law mandates all counties and municipalities have a comprehensive plan in place. Counties and municipalities must review and update those plans for state certification every 10 years, while providing yearly updates on the progress of implementation.
A comprehensive plan, among other things, serves as the standard for how development occurs and how land use is governed in a community over a long-term period.
For more information on the Sussex County comprehensive plan, visit www.sussexcountyde.gov/2018-comp-plan.