Height Limit Sparks Debate in Sussex County - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Height Limit Sparks Debate in Sussex County

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GEORGETOWN, Del. - An age-old debate has sparked up once again in Sussex County. The Sussex County Council debated how tall is too tall for the county. Sussex County has long accepted 42 feet as the limit on all commercial and residential buildings. But a 60 foot exception has created controversy this week after the council found out that it is open for more properties than previously expected.

The council initially thought this exception height of 60 feet was allowed for public buildings like schools and hospital. But it has recently come to their attention that it in fact applies to some apartments and hotels that have "public features." The realization has triggered a renewed debate over what height limits should be present in Sussex County.

Joan Deaver, the councilwoman who represents the northeast area of the county, believes 60 feet is too high for the county. She said that the high buildings are something her constituents don't want.

"I represent the Delaware Bay," she said. "And there's a courtesy that you owe to your neighbors. You don't want to have a building that's so large you can't even see the bay."

But councilmen like Vance Phillips disagree. He believes there is a big difference between the 350-feet buildings of Ocean City and the much less intrusive 60-feet ones that are sprouting up in Sussex County.

"It's my contention that 60 feet is not high at all..." he said. "Right now some are fear-mongering, suggesting that 60 feet is going to make us look like Ocean City... It's not."

There will be two public hearings to discuss the issue on the Nov. 14 and 19. After these meetings, the council will have to decide whether to make the height limit shorter, higher, or at the same level.

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