Georgetown Area Working Group

Meeting Minutes

March 18, 2004
5:30 PM - 8:30 PM
CHEER Community Center

Indicated by √
Working Group Members Representing
Abbott, Jr., Howard Georgetown Resident
Abbott, Shane Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission
Adams, Kenneth Melvin Joseph Contractors
Baird, David Town Manager
  Barlow, Sue Georgetown Planning Commission
Buehl, Eric Center for the Inland Bays
Burris, Allison La Esperanza, Inc.
Campbell-Hansen, R. Carol Sussex County Board of Realtors
Cooper, Mitch Delaware State Police
Davis, Mark Delaware Department of Agriculture
Diehl, David Bayhealth Medical Center
Dryden, Lit Greater Georgetown Chamber of Commerce
Dukes, Harry First State Poultry, Sussex County Airport Board
  Edwards, Bernice First State Community Action Agency
Gibbs, Matthew Georgetown Resident
Johnson, Harold Sussex County Farm Bureau
Johnson, Terry Delaware Technical & Community College
Jones, Wesley Georgetown Historical Society
Messick, Lynda Delaware National Bank
  Mitchell, John Indian River School District
Moore, Sr., Carlton Historic Georgetown Association
Moore, Keith Perdue Farms, Inc.
Moore, Merrill Georgetown Area Resident
O'Neill, Karen

Southern Delaware Tourism

Phillips, Guy Sussex County Farm Bureau
Simmons, Mike Project Development (South Region), DelDOT
  Thomas, Joe Sussex County Emergency Management Services
Townshend, Ann Marie Office of State Planning Coordination

The following is a summary of the meeting discussion:

  • Bob Kramer called the meeting to order at 5:50 and thanked the Working Group members for attending. He checked to make sure that everyone had their Notebooks. The Working Group members then introduced themselves.
  • He concluded his comments by indicating DelDOT's appreciation for their participation, dedication and the giving of their time and effort to make this a success for the Georgetown Area. The process will be lengthy, but at the end of the day, the community will be the jury.
  • Bob Kramer explained that there was an aggressive schedule/agenda for this evening and introduced Monroe Hite to kick it off.
  • Mr. Hite thanked Secretary Hayward for his remarks and thanked the group for attending. He reviewed the handouts for the project notebook including a copy of the Power Point Presentation that members could use to follow the presentation, the meeting notes from the first meeting and the study schedule. He indicated that there was a proposed change in the format for the next meeting that would be discussed later in the meeting.
  • He reviewed the recent meetings that the Project Team participated in and upcoming meetings involving the Project Team (Tab 1, Slide 5). He indicated that Notebooks were mailed to those Working Group members unable to attend the first meeting and the make-up meeting. Mr. Hite said that the presentation items from the first meeting and the meeting notes had been placed on the project website and materials from this meeting would be posted on the website in 3 or 4 days. An update from the upcoming April 8, 2004 Agency meeting will be provided to the Working Group at the next meeting. He then indicated that the next meeting will include a field tour and meeting. He concluded by emphasizing that the work materials being presented tonight are very preliminary.
  • Mr. Hite then turned the meeting back to Bob Kramer to review the Working Group's first homework assignment, the Working Group Guidelines (Tab 2, slides 6-9).
  • Mr. Kramer explained the need for the Working Group to agree on the Guidelines that will set the ground rules for how the Working Group functions and communicates. He briefly reviewed the guidelines for how the Working Group members will interact with each other and asked if there were any questions regarding that portion of the guidelines. Hearing none, he accepted silence as concurrence.
  • He then reviewed how the Working Group will make recommendations emphasizing the need for a super majority of the members present for approval of a recommended action. Secretary Hayward added that the basis for a supermajority had its roots in the General Assembly and the Delaware Constitution that require a three-quarters vote for financing actions. Again, Mr. Kramer asked if there was any discussion. Hearing none he accepted silence as concurrence.
  • Finally, Mr. Kramer reviewed how the Working Group will communicate with those on the outside.
  • Lit Dryden asked if the general public had been made aware of this meeting. Mr. Kramer indicated that while the Working Group meetings are not publicly advertised, members of the public are welcome to attend. He noted that the schedule for all the meetings and all the activities associated with the meeting and the project are on the project web-site which is linked to the DelDOT web-site so that anyone interested in the activities associated with the project and the Working Group could get all the information they wanted over the internet. Mr. Dryden indicated that we shouldn't create a situation where we set people up for frustration because they can't voice their opinions.
  • Karen O'Neill indicated that members of the media and the general public had attended the initial Working Group meeting.
  • Mr. Kramer asked if there was any further discussion and hearing none, accepted silence as concurrence.
  • Mr. Kramer then introduced the Working Group's second homework assignment: The Working Group's Vision and Goals and Objectives for the study area. He explained that changes resulting from the Millsboro-South Working Group Meeting were included in the Objectives. He emphasized that the Vision was the group's view of the future for their area. He asked if there was any discussion regarding the draft Vision for the Georgetown Area. Hearing none, he accepted silence as concurrence with the draft vision that was provided to the Working Group.
  • Mr. Kramer then introduced the draft Goals and Objectives. He indicated that the goals and objectives would serve as the basis/criteria for developing and evaluating alternatives.
  • Carlton Moore, Sr. asked what was meant by the third bullet under the goals, "respecting private property rights." Mr. Kramer indicated that it meant that the state would not act like the 800 pound gorilla when it comes to property rights and access. Mr. Moore indicated that no matter what happened, property owners are going to be affected.
  • Lit Dryden asked what would be the effect on businesses from a limited access roadway. How is that defined? A number of people responded indicating that distances driven to get to a business and the directness of the path, affected businesses. Mr. Hite noted that the goal is to minimize negative impacts on businesses. A study goal is to support business growth and economic development. One of the ways that the Project Team will measure this is to have the University of Delaware economics group review their alternatives and evaluate the impacts to businesses.
  • Harold Johnson asked who determines Fair Market Value. Secretary Hayward responded with a detailed description of the Real Estate acquisition process.
  • David Baird asked what was meant by improved connections between east-west and north-south routes. Mr. Hite responded by indicating the critical nature of routes such as 18, 9, 24, 26 and 54 and the need for this study to be flexible in its approach to providing connections between US 113 and those routes and to assure that the decisions made on US 113 don't inhibit future decisions regarding east-west routes.
  • Lit Dryden indicated that there are stretches of roadway in Sussex County where it is difficult to get on and off roadways to businesses and he hoped that this would not be the case with the decisions made for the US 113 corridor.
  • Mr. Kramer asked if there were additional comments regarding the draft Goals. Hearing none, he accepted silence as concurrence by the Working Group on the draft goals.
  • Mr. Kramer then introduced the draft Objectives and reviewed the items that the Millsboro-South Working Group had agreed to change in the Objectives; the revised labeling of the Mobility Objective to Mobility/Accessibility and the inclusion of the Governor's Livable Delaware initiative in the Land Use Planning Objective.
  • David Baird noted that Office of State Planning strategies were currently under review. It was indicated that the changes had not been approved and that the changes affected every community. Secretary Hayward added that OSP is proposing to shrink growth boundaries by 15 to 20%. He indicated that their draft strategies would be available March 29th and that Public Meetings on the strategies had been scheduled for April 7 and 9 in Sussex County.
  • Karen O'Neill made a comment about Maryland and growth in Maryland and Kent and Sussex Co. need help
  • Harold Johnson inquired about access across highways, such as US 113, for farm equipment. It was indicated to Mr. Johnson that the location of grade-separated crossings was an integral part of the study. It was further noted that recommendations on the selection of the location of those crossing would be a major issue for the Working Group to address later in the study.
  • Mr. Kramer asked if there was anything missing regarding the draft Objectives. Hearing none, he accepted silence as concurrence by the Working Group on the draft Objectives.
  • Mr. Kramer then introduced Tom Heil to review the Constraints Mapping with the group. As Mr. Heil went through the plethora of information on the constraints maps, Karen O'Neill requested a list of the Cultural Resource locations. Mark Davis indicated that Agricultural Easement Areas are those locations where the state has purchased the agricultural development rights for properties and that they would stay in Agriculture for perpetuity. Agricultural Districts are areas where property owners have voluntarily placed their properties in preservation for ten years. At the end of that time, a decision would have to be made to continue voluntary preservation, withdraw from the program or sell their rights. At the conclusion of his presentation, with all the constraint layers shown at one time, Mr. Heil emphasized the need to balance impacts to all resources. He indicated the need to work cooperatively in a coordinated effort with all parties concerned to develop the "least impactive alternative".
  • Mr. Kramer raised the rhetorical question, how do you build improvements through this? He indicated that this was the challenge for the Working Group to develop recommended solutions that address problems, but minimize impacts.
  • Jeff Riegner continued the discussion by reviewing the On-alignment strategies. The Working Group was provided a hard copy of the strategies for their own use in subsequent discussions. Mr. Riegner reviewed the areawide strategy map regarding the extent of development along the existing corridor and then introduced the variety of strategies for use along the existing corridor. Mr. Riegner then reviewed the portion of the US 113 corridor between SR 18 and US 9 and how the strategies could be applied in that area.
  • Joe Wutka then discussed the application of the strategies in the area just south of Georgetown from the Sea Coast Speedway to the State Police Barracks.
  • At this point, the discussion moved from the On-alignment strategies to the Off-alignment options. Mr. Kramer stressed that the emphasis of the study was the On-alignment opportunities and that they should view what was to be presented with that thought in mind. The Working Group members were also reminded that strategies could be mixed and matched in developing alternatives and that a solution is not one size fits all. Mr. Kramer then turned the discussion back to Joe Wutka who explained the significance of the size of the yellow bands on the aerial photograph in front of the Working Group members. Mr. Wutka then discussed the Off-alignment options east of Georgetown. He then turned the discussion back to Mr. Riegner to review the Off-alignment options west of Georgetown.
  • Monroe Hite indicated that the examples shown tonight were not hard and fast. He emphasized that development of the on-alignment options was the first emphasis in the study and would be the focus of the next meeting.
  • Mr. Hite suggested that the next meeting be moved to May 13, 2004 and be combined with a field tour of On-Alignment strategies. The field tour would begin at 4:00 pm with the Working Group boarding a bus at the CHEER Center and proceeding to US 113. The regular meeting would then follow the field review. Mr. Hite then reviewed the tentative agenda for the next meeting and the upcoming schedule through September. He indicated that Public Workshops would be held in June to present to the public, at large, the results of the first three Working Group Meetings and coordination to date with the county, towns and environmental agencies. The Working Group will then take the summer off to allow the Project Team to develop conceptual alternatives. The Working Group would reconvene in September with a detailed discussion of conceptual alternatives.
  • Mr. Hite thanked the Working Group for their efforts and adjourned the meeting.