Sussex County Introduces Special Events Ordinance Draft - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Sussex County Introduces Special Events Ordinance Draft

Posted: 10/03/2017 16:40:00 -04:00 Updated:

SUSSEX COUNTY, Del. - After Sussex County employees were tasked with making their special events ordinance more specific, a draft was introduced to the County Council Tuesday morning.

Among other things, the draft gives criteria for the Planning and Zoning Office Director to consider when deciding to grant a special use permit It also suggests that all special events, regardless of size or length, shall be subject to the requirements of the Sussex County Special Event Policy. 

Many of the councilmembers offered their thoughts on the draft, such as Councilman Rob Arlett saying safety concerns must be addressed and Councilman I.G. Burton suggesting that events below a certain threshold not be subject to the ordinance. Christian Hudson of special event venue Hudson Fields, said he found some of the comments concerning.

Mr. [George] Cole made a comment about limiting anything more than 200 people which I found interesting because I've been to weddings with more than 200 people," he says. "I'm not sure if we now are going to get into the business of regulating individual weddings and making them go through the conditional use process. I hope not. Because that seems very overburdonsome."

The draft suggests that no more than three special events shall be approved for the same property during a calendar year, something Hudson says would hurt his business. He says he's still optimistic that a compromise will be found during the public hearing process.

"We are not giving up the fight per se. We'll have our day in court so to speak," he says. "Whenever the public hearings are announced, let people come out and have their voices be heard."

During Tuesday's meeting, it was re-iterated that this ordinance is not aimed at any specific property or venue. County Administrator Todd Lawson said they hoped to have a public hearing on the draft in front of the Planning & Zoning Commission by the end of the month, and a public hearing at County Council in November. 

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