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Sussex Comprehensive Plan - Coastal Areas

4. Coastal Area  

(from pages 4-15)

Sussex County has designated the areas around Rehoboth Bay, Indian River Bay, and Little Assawoman Bay (the inland bays) as Coastal Areas. Coastal Areas generally encompass areas on the south-eastern side of Sussex County within what was previously referred to as the Environmentally Sensitive Developing Areas of prior Comprehensive Plans. The updated name more accurately reflects the function of this land use classification. While the Coastal Area is a Growth Area, additional considerations should be taken into account in this Area that may not apply in other Growth Areas. 

The Coastal Area designation is intended to recognize two characteristics. First, this region is among the most desirable locations in Sussex County for new housing, as is reflected in new construction data and real estate prices. Second, this region contains ecologically important and sensitive characteristics as well as other coastal lands which help to absorb floodwaters and provide extensive habitat for native flora and fauna. This area also has significant impact upon water quality within the adjacent bays and inlets as well as upon natural the region’s various habitats. And, these factors are themselves part of the reason that this Area is so desirablemaking the protection of them important to both the environment and the economy.

The County has significant initiatives to extend public sewer service to replace inadequate on-site systems. This is described more in within Chapter 8, Utilities. Careful control of stormwater runoff is also an important concern in keeping sediment and other pollutants out of the Inland Bays. 

The challenge in this region is to safeguard genuine natural areas and mitigate roadway congestion without stifling the tourism and real estate markets which: a) provide many jobs; b) create business for local entrepreneurs; and c) help keep local tax rates low. 

The following guidelines should apply to future growth in Coastal Areas: 

• Permitted Uses – Coastal Areas are areas that can accommodate development provided special environmental concerns are addressed. A range of housing types should be permitted in Coastal Areas, including single-family homes, townhouses, and multi-family units. Retail and office uses are appropriate but larger shopping centers and office parks should be confined to selected locations with access along arterial roads. Appropriate mixed-use development should also be allowed. In doing so, careful mixtures of homes with light commercial, office and institutional uses can be appropriate to provide for convenient services and to allow people to work close to home. Major new industrial uses are not proposed in these areas.  


6. Commercial Area 

(from pages  4-17)

Commercial Areas include concentrations of retail and service uses that are mainly located along arterials, and highways. As opposed to small, traditional downtown areas that are often historic and pedestrian-friendly, Commercial Areas include commercial corridors, shopping centers, and other medium and large commercial vicinities geared towards vehicular traffic. In addition to primary shopping destinations, this area would also be the appropriate place to locate hotels, motels, car washes, auto dealerships, l and other medium and larger scale commercial uses not primarily targeted to the residents of immediately adjacent residential areas. These more intense uses should be located along main roads or near major intersections. Institutional and commercial uses may be appropriate depending on surrounding uses. Mixed-use buildings may also be appropriate for these areas.  


7.2.3 Water Supply Protection


> <    (page 7-6)


"DNREC oversees the state’s Source Water Assessment and Protection Program (SWAPP) . . . "

"Under DNREC regulations, assessments have been completed of the vulnerability from contamination of each water system. DNREC provides assessment reports to water systems and the Delaware Health and Social Services Department’s Office of Drinking Water. "

"One of the best ways to avoid contamination of important water supply wells is to avoid intensive industrial and commercial development that uses hazardous substances in adjacent areas. Once toxic substances enter an aquifer, they can be extremely difficult to contain the contamination and to remove the substances from the water. "