A turning point for Sussex County’s  development climate?

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Good afternoon,

After rubber stamping similar projects over the years, the Sussex County Council recently rejected a plan to build a Wawa-style 7-Eleven convenience store with gas pumps in a developing area near Georgetown.

It was followed by reports of a contentious hearing over a 227-home development that drew an overflow crowd, Some claimed they were barred from entering the room and saying their piece.

At around the same time, the county Planning and Zoning Commission approved a massive 600 home development near Georgetown, but only if the project is phased in over several years and road improvements are made.

It is no surprise that new projects will see additional scrutiny. Transportation improvements are running far behind the pace of development. The low-lying nature of the county often leads to clashes over wetlands and other environmental features.

Also, the inventory of approved home sites that piled up from the previous recession has been sharply reduced if not eliminated.

We also have the natural tendency of recent residents seeking a slower-paced lifestyle to look around and become uneasy in witnessing sprawl and traffic congestion.

One major failing that can be blamed on both the state and the county is the lack of more densely developed town centers that could have resulted in up front infrastructure improvements as well as schools, businesses, parks and other amenities that allow more walking or short drives.

Instead, we see scattered residential developments and strip centers as well as a rising traffic death toll.

It may be too late to assemble a town center, but any developer that could put such a project together would do well by doing good.

Here’s hoping you enjoyed the spring-like weather over the weekend.

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