Like other charming coastal towns, the City of Lewes continues to attract many new residents every year. While we are certainly grateful for and welcome newcomers, with this surge of housing development, our seaside town is even more vulnerable to the impact of climate change. With more development comes increased traffic and impervious space, lost woodland and wetland buffers as well as increases in the carbon footprint. Rapid population growth also poses major challenges to our existing infrastructure – from roadways and bridges, to utility and water systems, to healthcare and emergency services.
The pace and manner of development may require leadership to regroup and reassess current codes and policies to take into consideration current as well as predicted data trends to ensure we are finding a responsible balance between growth and protecting our environment.
Growing up in Lewes, I loved exploring its beautiful beaches, forests, and marshlands, while consuming plenty of fresh dairy and produce from the many surrounding farms. Currently, the level of development is compromising the natural environment that is so much a part of our community’s history and character, as well as the key to its resilience and sustainability.
If elected, I would advocate for protecting more open spaces, by adopting best practice conservation strategies used to prevent beach erosion, bay pollution, and soil contamination. This is an area that is continuously evolving as we research, learn and implement environmental protection as well as "green" building practices across the globe. This in turn will help preserve wetlands, woodlands and farmland, marine life and wildlife.
For example, the City of Lewes should be working more collaboratively with Sussex County Council, DNREC and local experts, such as the University of Delaware College of Marine Sciences, to determine viability and impact of broad-scale housing developments that may interfere with large woodland habitats, stream buffers, and wetlands prior to decisions or sale of land. Decisions may not always be straightforward based on rezoning and sale of land or out-dated codes and policies; this may entail revisiting the evaluation and assessment process as well as analyzing codes and policies so that they are consistent and fair to residents today and those in the future.
A Vibrant Local Economy
To keep our community vibrant, we need to create a sustainable community going forward. That means more than just focusing on residential growth, but creating infrastructure to encourage people of all ages to make Lewes home. To do this, the plans must involve key aspects of community wellbeing such as the schools, the healthcare system, leisure activities & entertainment (including our amazing restaurants and shops), good-paying jobs (either at local places of employment or telecommuting options), and ease of access to all of these things as well as opportunities for people to engage and connect. Some of these are greater than what the City Council itself has influence over, but working collaboratively, it's about advocating for these various aspects that engage and provide for our residents, those from surrounding areas, as well as our visitors.
As a member of the Lewes City Council, I would work to create a more diverse labor market, with job depth in “right fit” growth industries, such as green building and renewable energy. I would also support a plan to develop low-cost co-working spaces that freelancers and entrepreneurs of all ages can use to network, collaborate, share services, hold meetings, and host events.
I would also advocate for quality and affordable housing, including options for middle and lower income earners in developments that integrate single and multifamily dwellings – a concept proven to leverage the many benefits of age and income diversity.
Effective County and State Partnerships
In order to accomplish our goals and objectives, the decision makers of Lewes will need to cultivate effective partnerships with local and state councils and agencies, commissions and boards, institutions and advocacy groups.
Having established a career that requires a detailed understanding of research and data, the ability to utilize the research for practical applications and constant collaboration, I am well-prepared to help our city successfully identify and pursue partnerships that will help us all move more successfully into the future.