FENWICK ISLAND – A final draft of Fenwick Island’s comprehensive plan will advance to the state for approval.
Last month, the Fenwick Island Town Council voted unanimously to approve the final draft of the town’s comprehensive plan and to forward it to the state for a final review. Officials say the planning document includes responses to questions from the Delaware Preliminary Land Use Service (PLUS).
“This is sort of the last piece,” said Mayor Natalie Magdeburger.
Last year, the town council agreed to hire consultants to assist the Fenwick Island Planning Commission in rewriting Fenwick Island’s comprehensive plan. And in the months since, officials have drafted a planning document that not only highlights the history and community profile of Fenwick Island, but addresses issues, goals and recommendations for the town.
In June, the town council voted to send its draft document to the state for review. In an update last month, commission chair Susan Brennan said her group has spent the last month completing its responses to comments the state submitted.
“We worked with the University of Delaware Institute for Public Administration to provide final draft materials,” she said. “We’ve been able to accomplish those tasks and have provided the council with the final draft.”
Brennan said once a final draft is approved, the comprehensive plan would be submitted to the office of state planning. She said the state agency could either return the plan with additional comments or approve it.
“If they have approved the plan, the town must then create an ordinance for the adoption of the comprehensive plan,” she explained. “To be adopted, the ordinance must include verbiage stating that the plan will go into effect upon receipt of the certification letter from the governor.”
With no further discussion, the council voted 7-0 to approve the final draft of the town’s comprehensive plan and to send the plan to the state for approval. Magdeburger said the town’s charter and ordinance committee would draft an ordinance to adopt the plan.
“At the same time, the council will refer this to charter and ordinance to draft an ordinance, pending approval from the state,” she said.
The council last month also voted unanimously to give the planning commission oversight and coordination of grant writing activities in town and to adopt the commission’s grant request procedures.
“We recognize the significance of this comprehensive plan, the value of our committees and the importance of growing in the same direction to carry out the large tasks that are in front of our small town …,” Brennan said. “The last month we’ve been discussing grant funding aspects, inquiries, procedures and created a simple format for committees to use when they wish to investigate grant funding opportunities for their projects.”
Committee member Ann Riley said the group had created a chart that outlined the process a committee must take in seeking grant funding for projects. She said the committee was first required to fill out an action form.
“As you can see, there are three directions that a project can go,” she said. “One, the town council can simply not approve the project for whatever reason, or they can send the request back to the committee for further information if they think that is appropriate. Or town council can approve the project request and at that point it will go back to the committee liaison and the planning commission will contact GAP, the Grant Assistance Program from the University of Delaware, which is going to be an incredibly important partner for the town”
At that point, she said, GAP staff will determine what grants are appropriate for a project. After further discussion, the council voted 7-0 to have the planning commission lead grant writing activities through the use of new grant writing procedures.
“It’s important that we all speak in one voice,” Riley said.