Lack of insight, planning, hurts whole county

Well, it will certainly be interesting to watch ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” Friday night.

The popular show will be airing a special two-hour Thanksgiving special on the Jusst Sooup Ranch building project starting at 8 p.m. That effort took place just south of Cool Spring Road, and got the entire county excited as Rev. Dale Dunning’s work with feeding the hungry has long been respected in the community.

And, of course, people were excited because it was going to be on television.

Regardless, Schell Brothers donated the land for the project, time and materials, and other local contractors donated their efforts to make this a project that shined a bright light not only on the Dunning family, but on the entire area. Volunteers lined up daily to help with the project, and not even that strange period of an earthquake, a hurricane and a tornado during construction tempered enthusiasm.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the feel-good story of the year.

The Sussex County Board of Adjustment (BoA) rejected an application by Jusst Sooup Ministries to serve food on the premises, putting a major kink in the plans to feed the hungry at that location. We really can’t fault the BoA for their decision, in that county code is specific in what a “home occupation” includes, including their description of what specifically it does not include — “nursing homes, rest homes, restaurants, tearooms, tourist homes or similar establishments.”

Some county officials blamed Schell Brothers for not handling this situation earlier. Schell said it was not their responsibility, as they were just following the lead of the production company.

Whoever dropped the ball on this, it was dropped. Rev. Dunning, at this point, will not be able to do what she has always loved to do — feed the hungry. And that’s a problem.