Letter to the Editor: Sussex growth group stands behind cluster ordinance

Sussex County is considering an amendment to its cluster subdivision ordinance that would extend its provisions to areas of the county where they don’t currently apply, specifically in the Coastal Zone in council districts 3, 4 and 5. The amendment process consists of a Planning & Zoning public hearing that took place Nov. 12 and a County Council public hearing scheduled for Dec. 1, followed by a council vote by the end of the year.

The Sussex Alliance for Responsible Growth supports the adoption of this amendment.

The three key reasons for adopting the cluster ordinance for all of Sussex County are:

• It standardizes the “superior design element” requirements to qualify for cluster status across the county by applying those requirements to the Coastal Area Overlay Zone rather than just Agricultural-Rural-1 land outside of the Coastal Zone.

• It acts to more fully implement the “Future Land Use Vision” in the 2018 comprehensive plan “to provide for balanced and well-planned future growth and development that supports the County’s economic development goals while preserving the rural character of the County and its natural resources.” The vision was not designed to apply just to certain parts of the county; it must be consistent for the entire county.

• It goes along with strong public sentiment as expressed in a SARG public survey: Over 93% of the respondents were in favor of the proposed amendment to make “superior design” mandatory for all cluster developments.

All areas of Sussex County deserve to have consistent application of “superior design elements” that will result in smarter, higher-quality development for the entire county. There is no logical reason to penalize coastal residents by limiting quality development to areas outside of the Coastal Zone.

Jeff Stone
Sussex Alliance for Responsible Growth