George Cole

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Local residents packed a public hearing held by the Sussex County Council yesterday over the controversial Gills Neck Village Center near Lewes.

The developer JG Townsend Jr. and Company has proposed a 75-thousand square foot shopping center at the Gills Neck Road and Kings Highway intersection.

Despite downsizing the project from 521-thousand square feet the city of Lewes as well as a citizens group have lodged their opposition to the center.

Gene Bayard with the developers got some tough questions from council member George Cole.

developer

The million square foot Overbrook Town Center appears to be dead.

The Sussex County Council turned down a rezoning request for the plan for the retail center yesterday.

The developer TD Rehoboth LLC could still appeal to the Chancery Court.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the vote was four to one with council member Rob Arlett voting to approve the rezoning.

Council member Joan Deaver said that the retail center is not part of the existing commercial corridor and exceeds anything else along Route 1.

sussexcountyde.gov

A proposed moratorium in Sussex County on off-premises billboards has drawn sharp opposition from the industry.

Council member George Cole told a public hearing yesterday morning that they were distracting noting there were other jurisdictions that banned them.  

Cole said that the council was only looking to tighten restrictions.

But David Hutt, an attorney who represents most of those applying for a billboard, called the moratorium an extraordinary measure.

He said it stops current applicants in their tracks.

creative commons

With a recent federal court decisions to allow the recitation of Christian prayer by clergy at local government meetings some on the Sussex County Council want to bring back the offering of the Lord’s Prayer.

Under a settlement agreement the County Council agreed to end the practice and merely recite the less sectarian 23rd Psalm.

During a 25-minute discussion yesterday Council member Sam Wilson urged his fellow council members to move back to the practice.

Two Sussex County Council members are expressing their doubts about the interest by a state committee in regulating development of 4-thousand acres of privately owned wetlands.

Council members Sam Wilson from Georgetown and Vance Phillips  both fear this interest by the Wetland Advisory Committee set up by the state could hamper farming.

But, the Wilmington News Journal reports that yesterday Council member George Cole told his colleagues that he did not believe this was an attack on farming.

Sussex County website

Governor Jack Markell will be in Dewey Beach for the grand-opening of a Hyatt Place.

But it will be against the backdrop of litigation and negotiations over the height of the building which exceeds the city’s normal 35-foot height limit by 11 feet.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that opponents say they’re concerned about keeping the coastal skyline from becoming like that of Ocean City.

Sussex County officials are expressing skepticism about requirements for landlords in accommodating disabled tenants under state and federal law.

During a briefing by state officials, County Council member George Cole said, “It makes us all madder and madder that we’re living under these terms.”

Many of the questions from the council members focused in on companion animals.

Landlords say that despite a no-pet policy in apartments they cannot deny a companion animal like a pitbull just because people feel threatened.