How can Sussex County, Delaware, begin to plan for a projected growth of almost 90,000 residents in the next 25 years and still maintain the great beaches, small-town living, low taxes, and other attributes that current residents associate with a high quality of life?
That’s the focus of the seminar “Town and Regional Planning to Insure Livability and Profitability,” set for Wednesday, May 26, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., at the Virden Conference Center at the University of Delaware’s Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes. The seminar is sponsored by the University of Delaware Sea Grant College Program, the Greater Lewes Foundation, Delaware Coastal Programs, the City of Lewes, Sussex County Council, and the American Institute of Architects – Delaware Chapter.
“In recent years, Sussex Countians have witnessed a pattern of low-density, single-use growth that has contributed to a loss of farmland, traffic congestion, and natural habitat degradation that, if unchecked, will impact the communities that we cherish,” says Joe Farrell, resource management specialist for the UD Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service. “While the county, particularly the eastern region, may be destined to grow, we have choices in how this growth should occur,” he notes. “The purpose of this seminar is to open our eyes to choices and to consider how these choices might fit in our future.”
The seminar will feature presentations by two of the nation’s foremost community planners, Ed McMahon and Randall Arendt, who will share their experiences on how counties can plan for growth in ways that consider community and environmental concerns. Additionally, Governor Ruth Ann Minner will highlight the successes and future direction of her administration’s Livable Delaware initiative.
The two featured speakers have presented at past seminars in the county and have provided planning support to state and local government. Ed McMahon is vice president and director of the Conservation Foundation, where he works to improve both land conservation and land development practices through programs that balance economic and environmental goals. In cooperation with the Office of State Planning Coordination, he has authored the soon-to-be-released report, Better Models for Development in Delaware.
Randall Arendt is the founder and president of Greener Prospects, a consulting firm that specializes in conservation planning. Before he founded the firm, he served as vice president of conservation at the Natural Lands Trust. He has designed conservation subdivisions that have added value and reduced costs for developers in 16 states.
In addition to Governor Minner’s presentation on Livable Delaware, seminar attendees also will hear how Delaware is encouraging smarter growth. State Planning Director Connie Holland will share state strategies for encouraging growth in areas that can accommodate it.
The seminar costs $40 per person, and advanced registration is required. To register, contact Rita Baty at the UD Sea Grant Program in Lewes at (302) 645-4346, or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also visit www.ocean.udel.edu/getinvolved/lectures-workshops.shtml and download a registration form. UD’s Virden Center is located on the Hugh R. Sharp Campus, 700 Pilottown Road, Lewes.
To complement the day-long seminar, Ed McMahon will give an evening lecture on “Preserving Historic Communities” at the Lewes Public Library at 7:00 p.m. The lecture, which will be co-hosted by the City of Lewes, the Greater Lewes Foundation and UD Sea Grant, will be held in the upstairs library meeting room. It is free and open to the public.