LWV announces forum in quality of life

The League of Women Voters of Sussex County recently announced that the final forum in its series of seven land-use forums will focus on quality of life and smart growth. This “wrap-up” forum, which is open to the public, is scheduled for April 14 at 1 p.m. at Beebe Medical Center’s Medical Arts Building, Route 24, Rehoboth Beach.

“Smart growth” is a concept that supports growth in a way that sustains quality of life, provides plentiful options in housing and transportation, preserves built and natural heritage, and promotes a healthy economy, LWV representatives noted.

Panelists include: Connie Holland, AICP, director of the Office of State Planning Coordination; Sarah Kiefer, AICP, director of Planning and Zoning for Kent County, and LeeAnn Walling, AICP, chief of planning for DNREC.

The term AICP following the speakers’ names refers to their designation by the American Institute of Certified Planners. AICP certified planners are required to meet rigorous standards, maintain their expertise through continuing education and serve community interests. Sussex County has not had a certified planner on its Planning & Zoning staff for 10 months.

Holland, whose office has been made part of the Governor’s Office, will describe how master planning can give residents, land owners and developers more certainty about how an area will grow and prosper while retaining quality of life. She will also address how rezoning of agricultural land could enhance farmers’ economic condition, preserve property rights and support the future of one of the county’s primary economic activities.

Walling will describe how smart growth has the added benefit of protecting air, water quality and habitat. She will also discuss smart growth wins and losses in Delaware and Sussex County and present successful examples from other places.

Kiefer will describe how the comprehensive planning process can give residents and developers clarity about where growth is planned and supported. The objective is to ensure plentiful choices among safe, convenient and attractive communities with ready access to jobs and daily necessities, while making efficient use of existing infrastructure, schools and public services.

All women and men are welcome to join the League of Women Voters, a non-partisan political organization currently celebrating its 90th anniversary year. For more details, directions or membership information, call (302) 200-1073, e-mail sussexlwv@gmail.com or visit the LWV Web site at www.sussexlwv.org.