Council’s most important task is land use

Growth is a tough thing to put your arms around.

A certain amount of growth is needed or an area or community becomes stagnant and unattractive to newcomers and new businesses.

Too much growth drives people and businesses away. Finding that perfect balance is a tough job, but it’s the main job of the Sussex County Council.

The five council members’ main task is to make decisions on land use, which is just another term for growth.

Sure they determine policy, deal with employee and constituent issues, determine budget matters and ponder over county projects, but their main focus zooms in on land use in Sussex County.

What experience does this august body have to make these all-important decisions?

Their experience is more than most people realize. Two members, George Cole and Vance Phillips, who usually vote on opposite ends when it comes to growth issues, have been on council for a combined 30-plus years. The other three members have been on the council for a combined three years.

But all three have been involved in governmental issues. Mike Vincent has a background in the fire service and served on the Seaford planning and zoning commission and city council. Joan Deaver, who moved here from the Annapolis, Md., area has an extensive business background and has been an activist most of her adult life. Sam Wilson runs a farm and has been deeply involved in Republican politics most of his adult life.

In other words, they have some background to support their decisions.

What grade would you give the current council on making land-use decisions? The answer to that question depends a lot on where you live. Residents on the western side of the county would probably give the council a passing grade; some of those on the eastern side would give them a failing grade.

Growth, even in a weak economy, is a lot more pronounced on the eastern side of the county; there is absolutely no doubt about that.

Decisions on growth are the most important council members make because they not only influence what happens today, but also what happens tomorrow.


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