Environmentalists say Sussex County violated Zoning to Renew Clean Bays Conditional Use permit
SUSSEX COUNTY, Del. – A land dispute between environmental activists and Sussex County is taking place after the county recently extended a conditional use permit for a proposed poultry waste processing facility known as the CleanBay Renewables factory farm biogas facility in Georgetown.
CleanBay Renewables received a conditional use permit from the Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission, for a biogas facility in 2018 with the caveat that they had to start construction and development of the land within three years.
No development has happened yet on the plot of land laid out for the site, however, Sussex County has not moved to revoke the conditional use permit yet despite Clean Bay Renewables missing their original deadline.
Environmental Lobbying Group Food & Water Watch says the company should have lost the rights to the land before the Sussex County voted to extend the conditional use permit despite the lack of activity.
Food & Water Watch says they don’t want to see the facility built at all, so the delay isn’t the issue, but rather they say their concern is that Sussex county went against their own bylaws to let the proposed facility keep their name on the plot of land.
“If they can just say ‘well we don’t see any evidence that they did what we required and we are gonna give them the benefit of the doubt ‘ the whole county code is called into question,” said Food&Watcher Watch Organizer for Delaware Greg Layton.
Layton says by extending the permit, the county leaves the window open for the facility to eventually come online, and in his view introduce harmful nitrogen run-off from the plant into Delaware’s groundwater.
47ABC reached out to Sussex County for a response. Officials told 47ABC they are reviewing the situation but they had no additional information or comment on it.