Category Archives: Land Use

Sam Wilson Cleared

Bogus anonymous complaints against Conservative Sussex County Councilman Sam Wilson have been dismissed by the State Board of Public Integrity. Like or dislike Mr. Wilson, the ruling is important for keeping the system of public integrity fair and just. The complaints were based upon rumors such as he got a special rate to buy feed and should recuse himself when it turned out that he had only shopped at the business twice in 20 years (at least once before he was a councilman) and yes paid regular rates. The other was based upon the allegation that he was overheard saying that he would love to help someone out. Not that he would help someone out for something in return (that would be a real issue). Not that he actually helped someone out (which wouldn't be bad). If Wilson would have been put through the ringer to justify an offhanded innocuous comment, like I would love to help someone Read more

Senator Peterson Responds

I recently received a copy of a blog that you wrote entitled "Peterson Has Troubling Bill." I wanted to take this opportunity to explain the bill, since it has nothing to do with "not properly providing notice in land use cases," as stated in your blog. Section 8126 of Title 10 of the Delaware Code specifies a statute of limitations in zoning and planning actions. Part (a) of Section 8126 states that when a county or municipality passes aland-use law or regulation, anyone wishing to challenge the law must do so within sixty (60) days of the public notice of the adoption of the law or regulation. After the expiration of sixty days, the legality of the law or regulation can no longer be invalidated by a court of law -- even if it violates a state law. My legislation seeks tostrike this section of the law, so that citizens can challenge the legality of a law or regulation Read more

Peterson Has Troubling Bill

State Senator Karen Peterson is circulating a bill that I consider troubling.  It would remove the 60 day statue of limitations for filing an action against a local government for not properly providing notice in land use cases. The propose synopsis says: If a municipality or county passes a land-use ordinance that violates state law, an aggrieved party has only 60 days to file a court challenge. After that, the ordinance cannot be challenged, nor can subsequent decisions based on that ordinance be challenged based on its invalidity. This Bill seeks to remove that bar, recognizing that the enactment of an ordinance that violates state law cannot be legitimized by the passage of time. I agree with Senator Peterson that 60 days is too quick. It means someone has to file right away or not at all. This hurts the ability of parties to work something out. 180 days would be a timeframe Read more

Melissa McCafferty: Bold Citizen

UPDATE:  I can confirm that at least in the state of Delaware this has reached Joe the Plumber status.  Don't tase me and don't touch my junk also come to mind.  The basketball fiasco has started going viral.  When I got home tonight about a third of my facebook wall was full of links to the News Journal article, the YouTube video (which has over 13,000 hits so far UPDATE: make that 145,000 hits, not bad for Delaware), and other comments about the incident.  Not to mention there is this new facebook page  We will just have to see how far this story goes. ---------------------------------- I think that Melissa McCafferty is my hero of the week. I haven't quite decided yet but for Delaware this just might be Joe the Plumber level stuff.  When the State came to take away the basketball hoops Read more

As I predicted– Kent Lost before Supreme Court

This has been a good week for my predictions, a bad one for taxpayers. Our state supreme court ruled for Tony Ashburn, who was developing the Johnson Farm near Kenton in Kent County Delaware.. The problem was that the law used to deny him was applied retroactively. Anyone should know that this was unconstitutional. It would be like asking someone if they went 50 miles per hour down a stretch of road last week. When they say yes, fine them because the speed limit was changed this morning. Some of us said that this high handed action would cost taxpayers a mint in legal fees plus damages. Mr. Angel and company scoffed at it a couple of years ago. Who was right? This opens the door to all similar cases. I feel for my fellow Kent County taxpayers. “I think ultimately the case is good for every property owner because if you want to do something with your property — be Read more

NCCo’s WFH Ordinance and Local Vs State Roles

Due to the recent and wholly exaggerated and inaccurate attacks from Bill Powers against Dick Cathcart, Mr. Cathcart provided a response that again clarifies the responsibilities in regard to land use and how they are applying to the developers dream known as NCCo's WFH Ordinance. PLEASE read it objectively, thoroughly, and carefully. If you live in NCCo, especially in areas under the gun from this dibacle, you must be educated on what is happening and also to avoid being deceived into inaccuracies from those who left their fingerprints all over this handout to friends. NO CONFIDENCE TO THESE COUNCIL MEMBERS!!! I have pasted it here: LET THERE BE NO MISTAKE - THE COUNTIES AND LOCAL MUNICIPALITIES IN DELAWARE ARE THE ONLY ENTITIES THAT VOTE TO ALLOW DEVELOPMENT. NO STATE AGENCY CAN STOP DEVELOPMENT - THEY CAN ADVISE, BUT THE ULTIMATE DECISION TO ALLOW DEVELOPMENT IS ALWAYS WITH THE LOCAL Read more

Campaigning 1-0-dumb

Today, I received negative mailers paid by Rebecca Walker's campaign, all of course attacking Dick Cathcart. On this day, I did not receive one, I did not receive two, but I received THREE, yes THREE negative mailers from her campaign. Unfortunately for Mrs. Walker, her inaccurate and exaggerated talking points were already disclosed to me a couple of weeks ago by a friend who is absolutely disgusted by the old-boys of local D politics here (please note that I recognize that this is a select few - the political demographics are changing on all sides and both sides' good ol' boys are close to impotence around here). There is another blogger not from this site that heard my rants about this two to three weeks ago as well, so it is confirmed. Make no mistake that this was a planned attack meant for the final days. One mailer was a regurgitation of an earlier negative piece with a different Read more

Reality Check – WFH Trivia (Bill Bell and You)

Please remember to visit and learn at This important PDF addresses the misconception about the state's role, as is falsely misrepresented by the blame-deflectors known as a couple of County Councilmen and their whisper posse. Q: What has more housing inventory as of tonight, October 25, 2008, the proposed units from WFH or the total available inventory of existing homes in New Castle County at $250,000 or less? A: The total available inventory of existing homes in New Castle County at $250,000 or less!!! I ran a query on Patterson-Schwartz for New Castle County with a max amount of $250,000. Total number of available houses: 2,914. Q: Why would Bill Bell be so adamant about WFH in his area without taking proactive measures to alert his very own constituency of the impending crush on existing infrastructure and on his very own, local school district, Appoquinimink Read more

Jud Bennett and His Primary

Why GOOD people like Jud Bennett Won't Win Primaries He does not bend his principles.  Jud Bennett is indeed a Republican, despite the derogatory labels, such as RINO, that have been lobbed in his direction.  On a most-local issue, growth management in Sussex County, Jud stands, convicted in his belief, against a progressive growth strategy.  Unfortunately, the Republicans that are supportive of progressive growth strategies used their abilities to accuse Jud of being liberal or socialist.  Interestingly, many residents in Sussex County recognize Jud as a conservative, especially in growth strategies.  This flies in the face of what those supportive of progressive growth claimed about Jud. So, what went wrong?  Those that recognize Jud as a conservative growth strategist, unfortunately, don't vote in Republican Primaries.  For the most part, they aren't registered Republicans.  Read more

NCCo Council Erodes UDC – Swings Door Wide Open To High-Density, Low/No Open Space

The small image below (click image to see enlarged copy) is a letter House Majority Leader Dick Cathcart mailed to his constituency in the 9th representative district more than a week ago.  This letter is in response to the burgeoning popularity among the New Castle County Government to erode the UDC and allow a destructive-land-use version of "workforce housing."  I called it "destructive" because, if approved, the plans will waive open space requirements and landscaping requirements.  Lot and building standards are reduced as well.  Representative Cathcart explains this in his letter far better than I certainly can, so please click and read (you may need to click the image a second time, after the ensuing page loads).  Please keep reading after the page-jump for additional comments. There is a public meeting taking place at Crossroads Presbyterian Church, located at 627 Vance Neck Read more

Ruth Ann Minner National Villain

The Liberty Matters News Service  reported in its July 17, 2008 Newsletter the following about Delaware.  Fortunately Delaware is a small state -meriting a short write up, and apparently we got a write up short enough for me to quote without sending money.  Go to for regular updates on important issues of freedom. Like Texas Governor Rick Perry, Delaware’s Governor Ruth Ann Minner doesn’t believe in the right of the people to keep their homes and businesses out of the clutches of special interest groups.  With one day remaining in the legislative session, Governor Minner vetoed S.B. 245, with the Senate unable to muster enough votes to override the veto.  The bill would have replaced an earlier eminent domain bill that had as many loopholes to appease developers as does the Texas so-called reform legislation.  It would have restricted the use of Read more

SB 245 Property Rights Protection Vote Held

Miracles can happen even if they are small ones.  SB 245 (described in a previous post) is a bill which gave protection against the government using its powers of eminent domain to take property for public use against some individuals to benefit other private individuals without there being a legitimate public use like a road or school. The Senate voted on the veto override (which required 13 votes, 3/5) 11 in favor and 9 opposed.  The vote failed. The bipartisan bill looks dead in its current form for this year.  The majority of Democrats flipped on this important issue.  They would rather stand with a lame duck governor than the public.  Unfortunately so did  three Republicans who would have been the difference.  I am not pleased with the result, but I do celebrate progress.  Most people didn't think we would even get a vote. I favor ensuring the law in Kent County protects Read more

Governor Minner vetoes SB 245 which limited government snatching of your property

Governor Minner vetoed the bipartisan SB 245. Delaware on line reported the following: Gov. Ruth Ann Minner announced today she is vetoing legislation that would have redefined “public use” in the eminent domain law and made it harder for government agencies to take private land. The Legislature passed Senate Bill 245 on June 12, after months of negotiations between parities involved in the issue. The legislation would have only allowed government agencies to take private land if it was intended for "public use" and added that economic development did not meet the definition of "public." It also would have tightened the definition of blighted, adding it must be a threat to public health and safety. I am so glad we have the Governor looking out for the interests of the powerful.  If we didn't have people like her, the average citizen might be able to sneak a break in once in a while.  Read more

A better approach to county planning

When I listen to the land management debate, I wonder why the real issues are often mentioned only in passing.  We are in danger of becoming a bedroom community not a vibrant self-sustaining one.   In Kent county, most people can no longer afford to live here on the wages paid.  According to the housing report, most people are being stretched by rent and mortgages beyond what they can comfortably afford.  High energy costs make commuting  to find a better job an unproductive option for many.  Stagnant wages, high energy costs, and a lack of affordable housing have created an iron triangle of despair for many people.  To answer this we need to begin with a smarter, fairer approach to land management.  It should meet these three objectives:  reviving our towns and cities, providing a diversity of housing stock, and promoting a vibrant business environment.  It needs to respect Read more