Sussex County News

Sussex County, Delaware

Population:

  • 156,638 (2000 Census)

County council meetings

  • Tuesdays, 10 a.m. (second Tuesday of each month), council chambers, county administrative building; council meetings and other public meetings held in the council chambers are broadcast over the Internet

Planning & Zoning meets:

  • Thursdays, two to four times per month, 6 p.m.; occasional Wednesday afternoons; council chambers, county administrative building

Board of Adjustments meets:

  • Mondays, two to four times per month, 7 p.m.; council chambers, county administrative building

Elections:

  • Council members elected by district, to four-year terms; council president selected from among council members

County administrative building:

  • 2 The Circle, Georgetown, DE 19947; (302) 855-7700

Web site

General e-mail inquiries

County Council 2013-2014:

  • Michael Vincent, Council President, District 1
  • Samuel Wilson Jr., Council Vice-President, District 2
  • Joan Deaver, District 3
  • George B. Cole, District 4
  • Vance C. Phillips, District 5

County Administrator:

  • Todd Lawson

Council Administrative Staff:

  • Robin Griffith

Finance Director:

  • Gina Jennings

Public Information:

  • Chip Guy

Public Works Director:

  • Michael Brady

Director of Planning & Zoning:

  • Lawrence Lank

Director of Planning & Zoning Commission:

  • Robert C. Wheatley

Police:

  • Delaware State Police Troop 4

Sheriff:

  • Jeffrey Christopher

Emergency:

  • 911

Non-emergency police contact:

  • (302) 856-5850

Sewer service:

  • Sussex County provides central sewer service to communities throughout the county, while some private property owners and other communities utilize on-site septic or sewer systems of their own.

County BOA defers Oakwood Homes decision, for a second time

The Sussex County Board of Adjustment has chosen to table, for a second time, their decision on two special-use exception applications filed by Oakwood Homes.

The company is seeking two special-use exceptions to permit manufactured homes on two separate lots, each measuring less than .75 acres — one located on Hoot Owl Lane near Dagsboro and the other on Julie Court near Frankford.

Veterans Treatment Court offers support, mentoring

Coastal Point • Maria Counts : Active-duty military serice personnel, veterans and their mentors are recognized at Sussex County Superior Courts for their participation in the Veterans Treatment Court program.Coastal Point • Maria Counts : Active-duty military serice personnel, veterans and their mentors are recognized at Sussex County Superior Courts for their participation in the Veterans Treatment Court program.Last month, Sussex County Superior Courts took the time to recognize and honor active-duty military service personnel, veterans and their mentors who participate in the Veterans Treatment Court program.

“Mentors — the strength of the court here is in large measure due to you,” said Delaware Superior Court Judge Richard F. Stokes, who served as a U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Corps officer during the Vietnam War, “the people who have served, the people that have seen things and understand that when veterans who have served our country come back, they have special problems, because they took the oath and served our country.”

The Veterans Treatment Court’s mission is to divert veterans who meet strict requirements from the traditional criminal justice system and provide them with the tools to lead a productive and law-abiding life.

On Sept. 28, Brig. Gen. Mike Berry, land component commander of the Delaware National Guard, who also serves as deputy commander of Troop 4 for the Delaware State Police, attended the event to show his support of the Court and its veterans.

Public voices support for Sussex sports complex

A slew of individuals attended the Sussex County Council meeting on Oct. 10 to voice their support for a proposed sports complex in Georgetown.

Last month, the Sussex Sports Center Foundation requested that Sussex County financially support their endeavor to build a sports facility for residents’ and visitors’ use in Georgetown, just north of Route 9 on Sandhill Road.

Neighbors fight against Oakwood Homes applications

More than a dozen residents of Hoot Owl Lane near Dagsboro came out to a Sussex County Board of Adjustment meeting on Oct. 2 to voice their opposition to a special-use exception application filed by Oakwood Homes.

County introduces update to special-events ordinance

The Sussex County Council at its Tuesday council meeting introduced a draft ordinance related to special events.

Assistant County Attorney Vince Robertson said most of the draft ordinance remains the same as the existing ordinance. Those who wish to host a special event would go into the Planning & Zoning office for a permit or would have to apply for a conditional use.

Sports center asks County for support

Members of the Sussex Sports Center Foundation this week requested that Sussex County financially support their endeavor at the Sussex County Council meeting on Sept. 26, giving a presentation on the project to the council.

The foundation is planning to build a sports facility for resident and visitor use in Georgetown, just north of Route 9 on Sandhill Road.

Raymond F. Hamm Jr., 81

Raymond F. “Ray” Hamm Jr., 81, of Bethany Beach, Del., passed away on Sept. 23, 2017, after a long illness.

Rt. 54 citizens want a traffic signal, complain of rapid development

The Fire Marshal might have frowned at the number of people squeezed into Roxana Fire Hall on Sept. 19. But Route 54 residents hovered just under the 274 occupancy limit, showing just how concerned they are about traffic issues in their corner of Sussex County.

County extends CIB lease for James Farm preserve

The Sussex County Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to extend their lease of the James Farm Ecological Preserve to the Center for the Inland Bays.

The 150-acre property, located on Cedar Neck Road just outside of Ocean View, offers visitors the change to enjoy seven different distinct habitats, walking trails and beach.

Public invited to Route 54 traffic meeting on Sept. 19

Two-lane highways are under volume pressure as more houses and vehicles bring people to coastal Delaware. There will be a public meeting to discuss traffic conditions along Route 54 (Lighthouse Road) on Tuesday, Sept. 19, at 12:30 p.m. at the Roxana Volunteer Fire Company’s fire hall.

Festival Hispano will be dancing in the streets

Good music, food and fun will fill the streets of Georgetown at the 22nd annual Festival Hispano on Sunday, Sept. 17.

Thousands of people will celebrate Hispanic cultural heritage from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The festival stretches along North Race Street, from Laurel Street to the Pepper Street stage.

People come from near and far to enjoy the Delmarva Peninsula event.

Small businesses go front-and-center

State Sen. Gerald Hocker and Gov. John Carney on Aug. 16 invited a small group of local businesspeople to join them for lunch and a roundtable discussion on the state’s economy and their concerns about their individual businesses and beyond.

Traffic stop leads to meth, heroin and ecstasy arrest

A speeding ticket led to a drug-related arrest earlier this month in Ocean View.

On Aug. 12, around 10 p.m., an Ocean View police officer stopped a motorcycle because the driver was allegedly driving at 76 mph in a posted 45 mph zone on Beaver Dam Road.

Sussex County drug-trafficking investigation nets 40 arrests

A multi-jurisdictional investigation into an illegal drug trafficking organization, involving multiple subjects, conducted by the Delaware State Police and Delaware Department of Justice, has concluded with the arrest or indictment of 40 individuals on more than 190 criminal charges.

County found in violation of FOIA in P&Z hire

The Sussex County Council took time at its Tuesday meeting this week to discuss a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) complaint filed by resident and council meeting regular Dan Kramer.

Paul F. ‘Pete’ Lynch

Paul F. “Pete” Lynch of Gumboro, Del., passed away peacefully at home on Aug. 1, 2017.

County council discusses special-events ordinance

After County Councilman George Cole said he had received calls regarding concerts at Hudson Fields outside of Milton, he asked staff to review what ordinances were in place to govern such events.

Area police warn people about driveway paving scam

Asphalt is the latest on the list of new scams. Con artists are travelling door-to-door to promise driveway paving services, but they just don’t deliver.

In Selbyville, “Subjects portrayed themselves as contractors for the municipality and told residents that their driveway must be repaved to bring it up to code,” the Town reported.

Wings & Wheels 2017 planning is officially under way

This year’s Wings & Wheels event is set to take place the weekend of Oct. 6-7.

Things will kick off that Friday, with Aviation Education Day, during which 125 high school students will spend the day at the Delaware Coastal Airport, learning from aviation experts. The 2017 featured speaker for Education Day is Joe Edwards, NASA shuttle commander.

New partnership rescues septic systems from despair

When people move into neighborhoods with a new homeowner association, they may not know what they’re in for. It’s not just house colors and mailbox height. Sometimes it’s road maintenance and a neighborhood-wide sewage system.

Hope for Dirickson Creek means volunteer action

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: U.S. Sen. Tom Carper speaks to the Dirickson Creek Team over the new State of Dirickson Creek report.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: U.S. Sen. Tom Carper speaks to the Dirickson Creek Team over the new State of Dirickson Creek report.Having lived along Dirickson Creek for 30 years, Lynn LeBrun wouldn’t let her grandchildren swim its waters anymore. In fact, anyone with an open cut risks serious bacterial infection from the waters of many parts of the Delaware inland bays. The creeks are beautiful but have serious health issues.

“I’ve been here for 30 years, and I’ve seen the creek change. The color of the water is darker. In the wintertime, you could see the bottom,” LeBrun said of a time decades ago.

“Cleaning up a water body like this is like trying to turn around an aircraft carrier,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Carper — it takes time, but it is possible.

And the movement has begun. The Dirickson Creek Team is a volunteer group that advocates for the creek and educates their neighbors and legislators. By helping protect the major local tributary, they’re hoping to impact the Little Assawoman Bay.

Delaware court honors veterans, bailiff raises donations

Coastal Point • Maria Counts: Oscar Gonzales, with his children, Diego, Niko and Henry, created a shadow box so veterans could display their awards anonymously.Coastal Point • Maria Counts: Oscar Gonzales, with his children, Diego, Niko and Henry, created a shadow box so veterans could display their awards anonymously.Prior to gaveling in the start of a Veterans Treatment Court session last week, Delaware Superior Court Judge Richard F. Stokes took time to call attention to the great work being done for veterans in Sussex County.

“A lot of good things are happening because we have a great number of people and organizations that are pitching in for our veterans,” said Stokes.

He called attention to Home of the Brave in Milford, a non-profit whose mission is to “reduce homelessness among our military veteran population,” and its executive director Jessica Finian.

Home of the Brave not only offers transitional housing for male and female veterans (along with their children), but also assists with employment, counseling services, access to healthcare, transportation and locating affordable housing.

“She has what I call a ‘can-do’ attitude,” said Stokes. “Nothing was handed to Jessica. It was her mission to establish facilities to take care of homeless veterans... It didn’t come easy. She had to go to bat several times…

“I want you to be recognized for the good work that you do,” he told her.

Also, on June 29, Stokes called out the efforts of Superior Court Chief of Security Rene Flores Sr., who served in the U.S. Army and Air Force reserve, beginning his military career in 1987. Flores retired as a senior master-sergeant, having been deployed in various combat areas, including Afghanistan and Iraq.

Flores reached out to his colleagues throughout Georgetown to collect a great many household goods, a “wish-list of items,” to donate to Home of the Brave.

County denies conditional-use application for ‘tiny home’ campus

The Sussex County Council voted unanimously this week to deny a conditional-use application for a “tiny home” campground in the Long Neck area.

Architect and property owner Joy Marshall Ortiz told the council she wanted to create a small, sustainable small-home community on her 4.199-acre property, located on the north side of Cordrey Road, approximately 800 feet west of Streets Road.

Sussex County Council approves $143M budget for 2018FY

The Sussex County Council this week unanimously approved its proposed $143 million budget for the 2018 fiscal year.

Prior to approving the budget, the council approved a number of ordinances related to the draft budget. Among the changes, the council voted unanimously to implement a $20 recording fee for a marriage license, a fee that New Castle County currently charges.

County council discusses code on special events

Following up on an inquiry by Councilman George Cole at a May meeting of the Sussex County Council, the council this week discussed the definition of “Special Events” within the Sussex County Code.