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Del. Audubon Opposes Development of Marine Farm Property

The historic, predominantly African-American community of Jimtown, in Sussex County, is facing the possibility of a new neighbor in the form of a 651-unit residential area on what is now the Marine Farm property. In addition to concerns about the human residents' ablility to preserve their rural quality of life, there are concerns about the proposed development's impact on wildlife.

Gerrit van Burk of the Citizens Coalition read a letter on behalf of the Delaware Audubon Board to the Sussex County Council. The letter cited the seven endangered species present on the 374-acre property, as well as "an historical and currently used Eagle's nest." Therefore, the letter continued, it is the position of Delaware Audubon that the property be designated a wildlife preserve. The letter also enumerated a number of concerns about the project as it now stands, and whether the plans comply with certain State and Federal regulations.

The text of the letter follows:

October 8, 2004
To: Sussex County Council
From: Ann Rydgren, Vice-president
Delaware Audubon Society
Re: Marine Farm Project

Delaware Audubon is a statewide chapter of National Audubon Society. The mission of Delaware Audubon Society is to promote an appreciation and understanding of nature; to preserve and protect our natural environment; and, to affirm the necessity for clean air and water and the stewardship of our natural resources. Over 400 members reside in Sussex County.

Although Delaware Audubon feels that with seven endangered species including an historical and currently used Eagleís nest on the property, the best designation for this property would be as a wildlife preserve, we are also concerned whether the Marine Farm Project current plans comply with state and federal regulations. In what way have the developerís initial plans been changed to address the recommendations of the PLUS Review?

  • Is the Marine Farm in a developing area according to the Sussex County Comprehensive plan?
  • Is the project in compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act?
  • How are Delaware State Fire Prevention Regulations being addressed?
  • What forest mitigation can we expect?
  • What kind of irrigation is proposed and does the choice meet state code?
  • What are the details of their sediment and stormwater plan?
  • How will existing wetlands be protected from proposed stormwater management facilities?
  • What pollution control strategies are being proposed?
  • Have DNRECís Division of Soil and Water Conservation and the Sussex Conservation District been consulted regarding alternative stormwater management practices on this site as recommended by the PLUS Review?
  • What are the details of the MOU with the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program regarding the stewardship and monitoring of the existing Eagleís nest and the protection of other endangered species?

We encourage the Sussex County Council to address these questions thoroughly before permitting a rezoning that allows for a housing density incompatible with the surrounding area.

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to comment at this hearing.

Respectfully,

Ann Rydgren
Vice-president

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This page was last updated on Dec. 24, 2004.