The League of Women Voters of Sussex County strongly supports Councilman I.G. Burton’s proposed change to Sussex County’s forested/vegetated buffer ordinance. His proposal would increase buffer widths to 40 feet for subdivisions, separately apply wetland buffers, and restrict density calculations to buildable land.
Adequate buffers and revised density calculations are needed to address two serious problems that are plaguing Sussex County. First, unlimited development is fast leading to the urban sprawl that many of us moved here to escape and our tourist visitors want to avoid. Second, our streams, ponds and aquifers are being deluged with more nitrogen than they can absorb due to more dense development, and domestic and agricultural fertilization.
Properly managed buffers provide the country setting that has been our trademark and inhibit the erosion of our soil. Together with reduced density, they also slow storm runoff and allow for natural absorption and purification of our ground (drinking) water.
We respect the rights of land owners, be they housing developers, farmers (most of whom are better conservators of the land), retailers or industrialists. All are important contributors to our economy. But, don’t we all have a responsibility — greater than our own individual needs and desires — to preserve our country setting and sources of water?
Buffers and reduced density are a must. Delaware’s other two counties have proven this, as have our neighboring states. We cannot allow the details of implementation to prevent us from getting it done.
Nancy Kassner, Environment & Natural Resources Chair
Martha Redmond, President
League of Women Voters of Sussex County