Sussex County Council

Don Rush

The Sussex County Council gave the okay to rezone land near Lewes for the Gills Neck Village Center that was first put forward in 2008.

It has been scaled back from over 500-thousand square feet to 75-thousand square feet.

It sits just across from Cape Henlopen High School in Lewes and near the wellheads for the town’s water.

The vote was unanimous.

But council member Bob Arlett conceded that the traffic and environmental concerns by the public were legitimate.

The Sussex County Council gave the green light to the Arbor-Lyn development near Rehoboth Beach

But it going to be smaller.

WBOC reports the council cut the density to four units per acre.

That means there will only 142 units – down from the initial proposal of 202.

They will include single family homes, townhouses and apartment buildings.  

There had been opposition from local residents who feared the impact of the density and the traffic congestion.

The development is located between, Route 24 and Old Landing Road.

The Sussex County Council delayed action on the proposed Arbor-Lyn development.

There was a proposal to reduce its density.

But the four council members present wound up in a 2-2 tie.

Council member Joan Deaver was not present to break the vote.

The development would include single family home, townhouses and condominiums.

WBOC reports that council member George Cole said he was concerned about traffic congestion with the proposal’s density.

Project manager Roger Gross told the council that the density was similar to nearby developments.       

creative commons

The stakes could be high for Delmarva when it comes to the effects of climate change in the wake of the election of Donald Trump to the White House.

The Republican has declared climate change “a hoax” perpetrated by the Chinese.

On the peninsula great efforts have gone into plans for dealing with the loss of coastline.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the three states have serious vulnerable areas ranging from the wetlands along the Delaware Bay Shore and the Chesapeake Bay to Virginia’s coastal barrier islands.

Sussex County website

The rape and abuse charges filed in a lawsuit against former Sussex County Council member Vance Phillips has been dismissed by the agreement of both parties.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that 20 year old Katelynn Dunlap claimed that the events took place just after she turned 18.

Kurt Heyman, the attorney for Phillips, told the paper that there was no admission of liability or payments.

When asked if this was a vindication for his client Heyman said people would have to draw their own conclusions.

Sussex County Government

Sussex County has been reminded that it should not provide grants to religious groups.

The Wisconsin based group Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter pointing out that the County Council gave a $25-hundred grant to Greenwood’s Grace-N-Mercy Ministries for a summer camp in late June.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that this is the second time this year that the group has issued a warning to the county council that such grants are unconstitutional.


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.

Sussex County Government

Sam Wilson has returned to the Sussex County Council this week after a two month absence.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that he suffered a stroke in October last year and spoke stiffly while wearing a brace on his first appearance at a council meeting.

He will serve as the council’s vice president -- a position he had last year.

While he was gone the council put off a number of votes on land-use applications.

Council president Michael Vincent said that the panel would resume its usual review of the applications.

Delaware Coastal Airport logo

GEORGETOWN, Del. (AP) - Sussex County Airport is getting a new name.

WDEL-FM reports that members of the Sussex County Council voted Tuesday to rename the Georgetown facility the Delaware Coastal Airport.

The name change comes as the airport undergoes a multi-year, $40 million modernization aimed at boosting economic activity.

County Administrator Todd Lawson says in a statement that the new name will better reflect the airport's recent changes.

A proposed country music festival near Harbeson has hit a bump in the road.

Dewey Beach businessman Alex Pires has told the Sussex County Council he is withdrawing his request for a conditional-use application for the event on farmland in the area.

In an August 18th letter his attorney wrote that there was some misunderstanding about the mandatory requirement for the preliminary site plan.

The Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission opposed the proposed festival saying the plan did not provide enough details.

Don Rush

The Sussex County Council is looking at revising its regulations for roadside vendors and produce stands.

One change would provide a temporary use-exception for vendors if they get permission from the property owner.

Currently, street vendors who use parking lots have to apply for a permit which can be expensive.

The next step in the process will be to get the opinions of the council members and then develop language for a change in the county code.

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.

The Sussex County Government could be hit with a $245-thousand federal excise tax on its family health insurance plans beginning in 2018 unless it cuts its insurance costs.

The County Council said it learned about the issue when briefed on the impact of the Affordable Care Act.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that   county accounting director Gina Jennings said because the total premiums paid for their plan are expected to go above $27,500 per family by 2018 the federal government will impose an additional tax on those plans.

Church and State,

GEORGETOWN, Del. (AP) - A federal judge has approved the settlement of a lawsuit challenging the recitation of the Lord's Prayer at Sussex County Council meetings.

In lieu of the Lord's Prayer, which begins "Our Father, who art in Heaven...," the council will recite the 23rd Psalm, which begins, "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want..."

The change from a New Testament prayer to an Old Testament psalm is outlined in a two-page consent decree approved Wednesday after council members voted 3-2 on Tuesday to approve the change.

Sussex officials said today they will begin posting online documents related to each week’s County Council meeting agenda instead of solely providing the material in print form for the media and the Council leaders.

County Administrator Todd Lawson told the Wilmington News Journal that this would improve access and transparency for the public.

The new material will be available in PDF form by midday on Monday of next Tuesday’s meeting.

Agendas, minutes and Council audios also are posted on the county’s website.

The Sussex County Attorney has asked those attending Council meetings not to recite the Lord’s Prayer as a protest against a court ruling that bars council members from leading the room in prayer.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that at the June 19th council meeting several audience members stood and recited the Lord’s Prayer while the council members stood silent.

The paper reports that some said they came to the meeting specifically to protest the judge’s ruling.


A federal judge says the Sussex County Council must end its practice of reciting The Lord’s Prayer when it begins its meetings.

US District Court Judge Leonard Stark issued a temporary injunction saying that it likely violates the First Amendment of the Constitution prohibiting the establishment of religion.

Local residents sued the county last year to stop practice.


      GEORGETOWN, Del. (AP) - The Sussex County Council says it will finish work at a Georgetown housing subdivision if the developer does not complete it by August.

     The council decided Tuesday that it would step in on Aug. 1 if Anderson Homes, of Middletown, does not finish work that includes adding sidewalks and paving roads.

     County staff estimate $180,000 in repairs are needed. A $312,500 line of credit from the developer's commercial lender, M&T Bank,will be used to pay for the project if the county takes it on.