Selbyville starts thinking about 10-year comp plan update

It’s time for Selbyville, among many municipalities, to start putting its future goals on paper again. The Town of Selbyville has begun planning for a 10-year update to its comprehensive plan.

On May 2, a professional municipal planner encouraged the town council to let her apply for grant money to complete the comp plan update.

Debbie Pfeil recounted her past success in winning grants for municipalities, then explained some background of Selbyville’s current 57-page document.

Like many towns, Selbyville first wrote a 2007 comp plan to appease the State, Pfeil said, so that funding wouldn’t be withheld. During the process, everything is reviewed, including the police force, railroad, housing, Mountaire and parkland.

Selbyville had focused on land use, mapping the current town limits and possible land for annexation. Pfeil said they and other municipalities learned the hard way that the State of Delaware took the plans seriously. For instance, official comp plan amendments were required when Selbyville annexed a property into the residential zone, when the comp plan called it a commercial possibility.

But, this time, utilities and environmental impact are taking center stage. Will the Town need land for a new water tower? If not, where might they be extending the water lines in the future?

Selbyville isn’t required to use a planner, but Pfeil highly recommended it.

“I’m trying to get you money to get your comprehensive plan [approved],” Pfeil said.

The grant money ($50,000 maximum) would fund the comp plan process — namely, her paycheck.

Pfeil called herself a planner, not coming to step on toes, but to work with town engineers.

“It takes all of a year, so you’re not rushed. You have a good document, and you can get it to the State for approval,” said Pfeil.

That includes studying the town, getting public input and writing the final document. Delaware can withhold funding if the final comp plan doesn’t have Town and State approval by the fall of 2017.

The town council voted unanimously (with Rick Duncan Sr. absent) to allow Pfeil to submit the up-to-$50,000 grant application, at no cost to the Town. They would hire her only after winning any grant money.

Pfeil has about three months under her belt at KCI consultants and, before that, with URS (recently acquired by AECOM).

Selbyville will assemble its own planning committee for the upcoming 2017 Comprehensive Plan, which includes the Town’s Planning & Zoning Committee and Town Administrator Michael Deal.

In other Selbyville news:

• The Selbyville Police Department had two Phoenix Award winners for saving lives in 2015 by performing CPR. Nearly every officer in the department has won the Phoenix Award at least once.

“The guys are doing a good job, and you never know what they’re going to come up on,” said Police Chief W. Scott Collins.

• All citizens are allowed to dispose of unwanted prescription drugs at the police department. The anonymous-drop-off bin has collected about 400 pounds since September of 2015, Collins said.

• One resident shared a negative business experience with a door-to-door salesperson. She said she believed she was “going green” by purchasing “low-cost” electricity. It may be a legitimate company, but it was not well-represented, she said. Her next electricity bill cost “three times as much” as usual, even paying the seemingly low rate of a few additional pennies per kilowatt-hour.

• The Annexation Committee meeting on April 22 ended with more questions than answers, said Councilman Clarence “Bud” Tingle Jr., so discussion will continue later regarding the possibility of annexing a 10,000-square-foot parcel of land on Route 54 into the town.

• One resident expressed frustration with his lawn irrigation system requiring a $65 backflow inspection. But that is a State requirement, said Deal, between mandatory backflow preventers and regular inspections. Even town council members have to pay the fee for the inspection.

The next regular Selbyville Town Council meeting is Monday, June 6, at 7 p.m.