County completes transfer of Ocean View property to neighbor

The Sussex County Council completed its transfer of property to an Ocean View man this week. The parcel is located at the back of the property on Daisy Avenue, where the county has its sewer-system pumping station. At the March 22, 2011, county council meeting, the council had accepted a $20,500 bid from Robert Witting to purchase the 75-by-242-foot piece of county-owned land. This week, they settled that transfer.

Deputy County Administrator Hal Godwin on Tuesday reported that Witting completed, at his own expense the necessary contingencies — to get subdivision and variance approvals from the Town of Ocean View in order to use the property. Godwin said Witting was the sole bidder in the process and that bid packages were mailed to all contiguous owners within 200 feet of the property.

In addition, since Witting’s 2009 request to purchase the property, the county has drafted a policy on selling county-owned real estate, since they did not previously have one.

The council this week also received a $3,190 check from Delaware Electric Cooperative, in payment of a capital credit. In October of 2011, the co-op’s Board of Directors announced $4.1 million in capital credits would be returned to members from 1991, 1992 and part of 2010. Capital credits are the Delaware Electric Cooperative’s “profits,” but because the co-op is owned by its members, any profits are returned to the member-owners.

At the Jan. 17 council meeting, DEC President J. William Andrew said the co-op is looking to build a roughly 40-acre solar farm. He said they will be officially announcing the project in a few months.

“I’ll be back here, because I’ll probably need a zoning change,” he half-joked, adding that he hasn’t said anything publicly about it before. He said the solar farm will start with about 4 megawatts of power production, with the ability to produce about 7 megawatts eventually.

“We’ll own the property, and we’ll own the facility and be able to put the energy online to support all of our members,” he said. He also added that the co-op has “the largest renewable portfolio in the region,” with onshore wind power, nuclear power, natural gas-based power, hydroelectric power, landfill gas and coal in its portfolio.

In other “green” news, the county council approved repurposing of a $48,000 surplus — money that was budgeted but that they didn’t use in their solar-power installation project at the Emergency Operations Center — to purchase 122 LED lights for the county airport. The incandescent lights that are replaced will be kept for maintenance and use in the other 230 runway markers.

In other news:

• The council introduced an ordinance that would permit garage studio apartments with parking as special-use exceptions in GR residential districts. They are already allowed in AR 1, AR2 and MR districts. The addition of GR was to make it uniform.

• The council approved grants to the Indian River High School Football Boosters for championship rings; to Delaware Storm Fastpitch softball for uniform, equipment and tournament expenses; to the Town of Dagsboro for street signs; and to the MLK Day of Celebration Committee for expenses.

• The council also appointed Jeff James, David Baker, Linda Messick and Hugh Leahy to the County’s Pension Committee, with four-year terms, and Dave Kenton, Dr. Mike Owens and Clay Yokem to three-year terms on the County’s Personnel Board.