What key issue will community face in 2020?

Editorial

As we look forward to what 2020 might bring our local community, we thought about a few key issues that could shape the year: the ongoing opioid epidemic; population and building growth; economic opportunities for young people; schools bursting at the seams, etc.

For certain, there are plenty of issues, and each comes with its own sets of challenges and solutions. That word “growth,” however, seems to be a common refrain amongst many of them. For the sake of this prognistication, we’re going to look at the relationship between the growth coming to our coastal oasis, and the need for services and infrastructure to accomodate it.

That, in our humble opinion, will be a key issue for lawmakers and decision-makers to contemplate and address for 2020. 

The unprecedented growth that has hit Sussex County over the past 20 years has put a strain on area roads, schools, sewer and septic systems, water and more. It’s not just a busy-month issue anymore, as evidenced by nearly all the schools in the Indian River School District nearing or surpassing their respective capacities. 

Before we go on any further, let’s clarify: We are in no way calling for the halt of development. We have a beautiful community that people want to move to or invest in, and the construction and real-estate markets make up a significant portion of our economy. Also, we firmly believe in the rights of property owners to do what they see fit with their property if it is allowed by law. But we want to see our towns, and the County, be prepared for growth before it is approved, and plan accordingly. 

We need to keep “smart” in “smart growth.” At all times.