Sussex County ordinance gives developers faster approval for rental properties if they commit to affordable rental units

SUSSEX COUNTY, DEL.- A new ordinance from the Sussex County Council would allow developers shorter approval times for projects, and higher density if they commit to building affordable rental units in their property.

“Affordable housing is a designation determined by HUD and specific to Sussex County are, $660 for one bedroom, $790 for 2 bedrooms or $960 for a 3 bedroom,” said Brandy Nauman of Sussex County Community Development and Housing.

By committing to those units and prices, developers would also be able to have a density of 12 units per acre, and have their project approved faster,  with the goal of making financing more secure for developers while ensuring affordable housing gets to the market faster.

“This ordinance means the projects won’t have to go through this lengthy public hearing process that they have to go through normally to get this density of this level,” she said.

Nauman tells 47ABC that step usually takes 12-14 months but now they’re slashing it to just a few months, as part of the executive plan and land use plan for the county.

She tells us the areas eligible for the zoning were selected to be near job centers, major highways and roads, and infrastructures like sewer and electric grids that they know could handle new development- but they say the most important factor is that faster timeline.

Housing Alliance Delaware, a local advocacy group for affordable housing applauded the ordinance change Wednesday.

Executive Director Rachel Stucker released a statement to 47ABC reading:

“We are thrilled that County Council has approved these much-needed changes. Sussex County has a deficit of thousands of affordable rental units for working people and families. We are hopeful that these changes will help create more units, and address the urgent housing crisis.”

Mauer tells 47ABC that developers are already lined up to take advantage of the funds, but timing cannot be guaranteed as the 2-4 month figure assumes the developers are up to code in every other approval process, not just the affordable housing requirement.

She tells us the plan took traffic, environmental, and density concerns into account when choosing the areas eligible.






Categories: Delaware, Local News