County planners postpone Castaways vote again

To the dismay of many of those following the Castaways applications for the change of zones and a conditional use through Sussex County Planning & Zoning, P&Z has again decided to postpone a decision.

Sussex County Planning & Zoning did not have all commission members present at their Thurs., Nov. 1, meeting and voted to wait until they would to vote on this “complicated and controversial” item.

Assistant county attorney Vince Robertson spoke while the P&Z was getting ready to approve the agenda and said keeping it on the agenda and risking the applications either not getting a second or three affirmative votes would effectively “kill” a motion, and therefore the county council would have little to go on when it is time for them to decide on P&Z’s recommendation.

Citing the background of why the P&Z exists — to make recommendations to Sussex County Council — Robertson said “if for any reason a recommendation fails for lack of a second or fails to receive three votes, the county council would not have the benefit of a recommendation or the entire commission’s discussion and reasons for the recommendation whether it be for an against an application.”

He said he was aware that the Nov. 15 meeting might have only three or four commission members present, which would put them in the same boat.

“The Castaways applications are complicated and controversial with a lot of information in the record both for and against,” he said, adding that it would be prudent to consider the input of all the commissioners, even though they had a quorum.

He said he had received a letter from the applicant’s attorney waiving their right to a recommendation within 45 days, so they could put the applications back on the agenda when they know all would be present without ramifications.

Chairman Robert Wheatley said he was reluctant when he saw the application on the agenda, and said he wasn’t in favor of it being on there and, “quite frankly, I am not prepared to vote on it.”

Commissioner Rodney Smith said he asked for it to be placed on the agenda and was prepared to make a motion and to vote on it that night, but said he did so thinking the whole commission would be present. He said the fact that it was taken off the agenda didn’t mean he wouldn’t be prepared in the future, as well.

Robertson also said in the event of an appeal, he would “rather have to defend an appeal if there is a good solid record,” something he said wouldn’t exist if for some reason a motion didn’t receive a second, or get three affirmative votes, which would mean it would “die,” and no solid recommendation would be forwarded to county council.

Castaways Bethany, LLC is looking for changes of zones/conditional use approvals from P&Z to allow for a proposed development consisting of a campground, multi-family duplex residential units and a waterpark, collectively to be known as Castaways Bethany, located off of Cedar Neck Road near Ocean View.

Sussex County P&Z’s agendas are posted online at Also, audio recordings of meetings can be heard as well by clicking on online.