What’s Going on With the Sussex County Council? Come on In for the Scoop-The 3/8/16 Edition

NO SERVING BEER IN THE CHURCH! This and other brickbats as the Sussex county council copes with issues from sewers to beer breweries. Also an analysis of the current Sussex county council, free of charge.

Perhaps it’s more of an indicator of my very boring life than of any earth-shattering ordinances introduced. But today’s Sussex county council meeting was one of the more fascinating that I’ve listened to for quite a while.

It began with the public comments. One public commenter introduced me to this so-called “comprehensive land-use plan” while another informed me that we all don’t WANT gubmint water and sewer.

There was a little diversion about electricity, somewhat interesting.

But the big discussion of the day involved the transition of a so-called “historical” church in Belltown to a beer/brewery-restaurant.

The exchange to bring this about speaks volumes about the Sussex county council members, none of it necessarily bad.

But they did the right thing to day and I am going to give some lectures to you council guys, so read on.

First, this so called Land-use plan, introduced by one of the public commenters. What is this all about?

From the Cape Gazette:

June 2018 may seem a long way off. But two years is only a blip on the schedule for officials writing a comprehensive land-use plan.
Sussex County Council and Planning and Zoning Commission members had a workshop March 1 with land-use consultants McCormick Taylor to kick-start the process.
Under state law, county and municipal officials must write a new plan, adopt it, obtain approval from state planners and officials and get it signed by the governor.
Planning and Zoning Manager Janelle Cornwell will be the county’s point of contact during the plan-writing process.
She said over the next 28 months county staff and consultants will conduct research, gather data, seek input from residents, groups, staff and elected officials and hold a series of public meetings. The plan – which by state law must be updated every 10 years – is made up of chapters or elements covering economic development, open space, historic preservation, housing and transportation mobility. It will also include updated zoning maps.
“This is a guide for the future development of the county,” Cornwell said.
Ordinances have key role in plan
A key component of the plan will be ordinances that reflect updates and possible changes in county code.
Councilman George Cole, R-Ocean View, the only council member who has participated in the process, said he hoped ordinances accompanying the 2018 plan would be implemented. Cole said the majority of proposed ordinances in the 2008 updated plan were never acted on.
Cornwell said ordinances included with the new plan would be drafted by staff and consultants with input from the public as well as elected and appointed officials and then acted on according to an agreed-upon timetable.
“This time we should get it right to put us in compliance with the plan,” Cole said.
Assistant County Attorney Vince Robertson said once adopted, the plan is a legal document that has the force of law.
Councilman Rob Arlett, R-Frankford, wanted to know how council members would be informed about the progress of the plan and how elected officials would provide input.
“You will see it multiple times through the process,” Robertson said.
Cornwell said council members would at first receive quarterly updates and later on would get monthly updates. “There is no way you will be blindsided,” she said. Council’s comments and suggestions would be welcome at any time, she said.
Plans are in the works to establish a link on the county’s website to submit ideas for the plan, Cornwell said.
New plan should include residents’ ideas

Cole said one of the most divisive issues will be discussions balancing the county’s top two industries – tourism and agriculture.
“That’s a good example of the dialogue we are going to have,” Cossaboon said.

Sorry to have quoted so much above but I find it totally fascinating.

And a little bit scary.

First, why is this STATE law? Did our legislators, in a moment of insanity, draft some kind of law that all the parts of Delaware have to come up with some kind of plan about what they want to be when they grow up? And once adapted these rules become state law?

The public commenter, by the way, claimed to be running for the councilmatic district currently occupied by Joan Deaver.

Another public commenter, with some backups, launched into a complaint about being forced to accept county water and sewer, that they were duped by their own homeowner’s association.

These people gave examples of how their own Homeowner’s Association betrayed them and hey, city water and sewer is NOT better than a well and a septic tank, look at Flint, Michigan.

Finally a foray into the world of electricity and purchase of such.

But of course we have to provide power to the schools and county buildings. Who knew that the county enters into a somewhat complicated deal with the state to buy the power needs in bulk?

sussexcouncil3.7.16belltownchurchsfLet us move on to this “historic” church in Belltown and the Sussex county council intriguing debate on this issue.

First, since when are we obligated to preserve every old building in Sussex county, even if a church? This historical stuff gets really out of hand.

Second, once again this church is about five miles from the beach, this is going to be a commercial area, the residents of Belltown will benefit more from the jobs and opportunities than they would with a historical church that’s falling apart.

Third, the newspaper stories call Belltown a black community and there are some black people in Belltown but it’s hardly Detroit for God’s sake.

Besides, what does being a black community have to do with anything?

The Commission found that Harry Metcalfe spoke on behalf of the members of Beachfire Brewery Co., LLC stating that they started meeting several years ago hoping to establish a family restaurant in the Lewes area; that they would like to open a restaurant and to manufacture their own beer to be served at the restaurant; that they have met with the Lewes Historic Society for information on the history of the church and the Belltown area; that minimal information is available; that they are not proposing a nightclub or brew joint; that they would like to create a family restaurant with family friendly prices, family entertainment, trivia games, and a free library book program; that the church building is intended for seating; that all kitchen and brewing facilities will be within new additions, not within the existing church building; and that 55 to 60 employees are anticipated.

Joan Deaver….Joan, my beloved council woman, what were you reading about no beer in the church and never mind, what the hell were you thinking?

First, the “church” aspect of this business is more for a fetching façade than any kind of historical thing. It’s just a building, basic, with a cute red door. IT’s not the Vatican and God will not be offended if people swig a beer in the same room where they used to conduct services.

For God’s sake by their own admission people are currently living in that building, it’s falling apart, the owners have the thing up for sale.

But Joan, dear Joan, wants to think with her heart in stead of her brain as is the wont of liberals.

George Cole, a bastion of common sense and good rhetoric this meeting, suggested that the council leave the issue of where people drink adult beverages to something called the ABC….the bureaucracy in charge of booze.

Because for Sussex county council to restrict where alcohol is drunk in this business means that the Sussex county council would be responsible for checking that the rules are adhered to.

How often would they send Joan Deaver out there to check that no one was drinking beer where the pews used to be? And how on earth would Sam Wilson managed to traverse those steps and take his turn to make sure the beer is not swigged where it shouldn’t oughta be swigged?

I know Joan has a good heart but her intent here is to come across as sympathetic and greatly yielding to the religious. Does anybody remember when she wanted to re-name “Easter Vacation” to “Spring Vacation”?

Point is these council people have got to get serious about Sussex county and where it’s headed. Somebody’s got to stop these sweet little old ladies from getting Deaver on the phone and boo-hooing about the beer drinkers soon to be in their midst and stand back and let capitalism take Sussex county where it may.

Note in that so-called growth thing George Cole repeats mine own shout often….where are you going Sussex county? We got tourists and we got farms.

And the tourists keep coming and so they give money to the farmers not to sell.

Stand aside people, and see where commerce takes this county. We don’t need the government getting all involved and kudos to George Cole for steering this vote to where it should have went.

The council vote to allow this brewery and restaurant be built on this property and hey, maybe they will fail, maybe not. But no way should a “historical church” which isn’t anything but a house with a red door, be allowed to block where the commerce shall go.

That’s the end of my lecture and don’t say I am not affected by any of this. I pass by that church about five times a week, I live on the Rt. 9 that is too often artificially manipulated to a bucolic rural road artery that is doesn’t want to be.


Finally, today was a good lesson on the make-up of our five council people and I’m okay with it.

We have Mike Vincent….serious, no-nonsense, moving things along. George Cole alternates between the liberal bent of his Ocean View constituents to the conservatism of his younger days.

Joan Deaver, well first, she’s a Democrat. How on earth did that happen in Sussex county?

I think there’s room in this world for Joan Deavers. I suppose we need a little heart.

Just need Mike Vincent and George Cole to keep the liberals walking straight.

Sam Wilson, God bless, seems to be doing very well health wise.

He’s a rabid champion of private property rights and I like that. Somebody tell Sam they’re making me tear down my fence so somebody will be on my side.

Sam gets a little askew of that topic at times, moaning today about people who request conditional use exceptions to their property then don’t do what they said they would do.

Sam interpreted this as telling a private property owner what to do with his property and an argument ensued between Sam and Rob Arlett.

Rob Arlett….now here’s a breath of fresh air. His councilmatic district is a mixed bag, farms, an encroaching urban feel.

Rob is young and was once a member of the Sussex county GOP.

The BEST elected people served on the Sussex GOP…it’s my story and I’m sticking to it.


I do not respond to comments on my posts. I certainly have no problem with such commentary and, indeed, encourage it. But I’ve written my piece and I don’t want to argue it further.

Please feel free to email me at patfish1@aol.com if you want to send me a special comment or have any ideas or information you want to share.
NEXT : Lots more coming up

2 thoughts on “What’s Going on With the Sussex County Council? Come on In for the Scoop-The 3/8/16 Edition

  1. Joan March 9, 2016 / 3:39 pm

    Five Points is one of Delaware’s worst intersections and doesnt need brewery restaurant traffic added to it. My motion for an amendment not to consume alcohol in the church was a request of Rev. Duffie on behalf of the people of Belltown. They called the plan a slap in the face and were not happy to have a transplant tell them about their own history. They know their town’s history that it was settled 100’s of years ago by Samuel Bell who was a Free Black. Henlopen Landing folks warned that area is very difficult for them and asked for consideration that they are responsible for the upkeep of Salt Marsh Drive.


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