Investment Level 4
Delaware's Investment Level 4 Areas are rural in nature, and are where the bulk of the state's open-space/natural areas and agricultural industry is located. These areas contain agribusiness activities, farm complexes, and small settlements. They are typically found at historic crossroads or points of trade, often with rich cultural ties (for example, unincorporated areas like Clarksville in Sussex County, Star Hill in Kent County, and Port Penn in New Castle County).
Investment Level 4 Areas also boast undeveloped natural areas, such as forestlands, and large recreational uses, such as state and county parks and fish and wildlife preserves. Sometimes, private recreational facilities, such as campgrounds or golf courses (often with associated residential developments), are also situated in Investment Level 4 Areas.
Some limited institutional uses may exist in such areas. Delaware's Investment Level 4 Areas are also the location of scattered residential uses, featuring almost entirely single-family detached residential structures. These are homes for those who value the quiet and isolation provided by locations away from more developed settings, albeit with an almost total reliance on private vehicles for every transportation need.
Delaware's Investment Level 4 Areas also include many unincorporated communities, typically with their own distinctive character and identity. These places reflect the rich rural heritage of the state. Investment Level 4 Areas depend on a transportation system primarily of secondary roads linked to roadways used as regional thoroughfares for commuting and trucking.
In addition, Investment Level 4 Areas may be the location for certain uses that because of their specific requirements are not appropriate for location elsewhere. Such uses, expected to be limited in number, could involve public safety or other uses that require their location outside designated investment areas. Industrial activity would be limited, except where specific requirements of major employers may dictate an exception for a use, which, because of specific siting and potential conflicts with neighboring uses, should not be placed elsewhere.
It is the state's intent to discourage additional urban and suburban development in Investment Level 4 Areas unrelated to agriculture and to the areas' needs. This will be accomplished through consistent policy decisions and by limiting infrastructure investment, while recognizing that state infrastructure investments maybe appropriate where state and local governments agree that such actions are necessary to address unforeseen circumstances involving public health, safety, or welfare.
Investment Level 4 Strategies:
In Investment Level 4 Areas, the state's investments and policies should retain the rural landscape and preserve open spaces and farmlands, support farmland-related industries, and establish defined edges to more concentrated development.
Investment decisions about investments and policies should rely on these principles:
Agriculture: Promote on-farm markets, the sale of local agricultural products in traditional grocery stores, restaurants, as well as public and private institutions where possible. Foster and promote efforts to expand public knowledge of agriculture and improve the public's view on animal agriculture.
Further the Department of Agriculture's consumer-protection efforts in support of sustainable economic development. Promote the use of nutrient BMP and planning in the rural setting in support of improved water quality.
Identify and pursue agricultural development opportunities such as retention and expansion of processing companies, institutional and retail food operations, and agricultural cooperatives, granaries, and seed and fertilizer companies. Identify new opportunities for and support existing agricultural support businesses.
A special emphasis should be placed on meeting the needs of animal agriculture while ensuring the health of the environment in this setting. Foster and support the long-term needs of traditional production agriculture and forestry activities, as well as the needs of niche and small- scale production agriculture.
Preservation of our agriculture industry is our highest priority in this Level. The state will make investments that enhance the agriculture industry in our state, which include economic incentives and related investments. Invest in the continued success of existing farmland- and forestry-preservation activities as well as identifying and furthering new, innovative preservation strategies, such as those that create specific opportunities for young farmers and ensure the generational succession of land and operations.
Economic Development: Development in Investment Level 4 Areas should emphasize only development that is compatible with and enhances agriculture, agribusiness, appropriate visitor activities, and similar economic activities.
Education: DOE does not recommend or support the construction of new educational facilities in Investment Level 4 Areas. Educational facilities proposed for Investment Level 4 Areas will be redirected into Investment Level Areas 1 through 3.
The construction of athletic facilities that do not require the creation of impervious surfaces in Investment Level 4 Areas will be considered on a case-by-case basis, with due consideration given to such factors as increased traffic and the need for additional support services.
Housing: Construction of new homes is discouraged in Level 4 Areas. Housing programs will focus on existing housing in regard to maintenance, health, and safety. Level 4 Areas include several unincorporated, low-income communities with their own distinctive character and needs. Programs will continue to promote revitalization of these areas through housing rehabilitation. State investment in these communities would be done in a manner so as not to spur additional development.
Level 4 Areas are also likely to contain some abandoned or partially completed subdivisions as a result of the housing boom. Strategies similar to those mentioned in Level 3 for these subdivisions will be needed to prevent blight and vandalism and ensure safety.
Natural Resources and the Environment: Emphasize the protection of critical natural habitat and wildlife, aquifer recharge, and stormwater-management/drainage areas. Provide for recreational activities, including parks and fishing/hunting facilities, while helping to define growth areas.
Maximize opportunities for ecological restoration and conservation cost-shares. Additional state investments in water and wastewater systems will be limited to existing or imminent public health, safety, or environmental risks only, with little provision for additional capacity to accommodate further development.
State Facilities and Investments: Investments in these areas will focus on parkland expansions, and ag-land and open-space preservation. Other facility investments in these areas will be discouraged unless it relates to a specific need.
Transportation: The focus for the Level 4 Areas will be to preserve and maintain existing facilities in safe working order, corridor-capacity preservation, and the enhancement of transportation facilities to support agricultural business.