Moving Forward and Recommendations
The following are offered as a way to achieve the goals and objectives stated and implied throughout this document:
- Designing and Building Complete Communities: As stated earlier in this doucment the evidence strongly indicates that a mixed-use and compact development pattern is well suited to maintaining Delaware's fiscal health and preserving the many characteristics that make Delaware a desirable place to live and work. There are a number of projects that will be considered to implement this initiative including some that are ongoing and some that will be created, including (but not limited to):
- Master Planning: Create a model approach to cooperative planning for large areas from recent efforts that include projects in Southern New Castle County, Milford, and Georgetown to be used statewide.
- Pattern Book: This will be a joint effort between the real estate community and the state to visually demonstrate to local governments and developers the variety of options for communities and how to develop codes to be able to build them.
- Healthy Communities: This is an effort with the Nemours Health and Prevention Service to promote healthy living with better designed communities.
- Comprehensive-Plan Fiscal Note: Complete work on this project that would allow, as part of the certification process for comprehensive plans, a fiscal note to be attached to help identify future state investments needed to support planned and proposed development within local governments.
- Transfer-of-Development-Rights Program (TDR): Continue to promote this as a way to preserve agriculture land and open space.
- Preliminary Land Use Service (PLUS): Continue to adjust and refine as needed to insure that this process is as efficient and useful as possible.
- Plan Certification: Continue to work with local governments in keeping their plans up to date.
- State Facilities: The state will promote locations for public facilities that will enhance community integrity and encourage the use of more than one transportation option. State investments in public facilities, such as schools, libraries, courts, and health-care and public safety buildings, should be strategically located to foster community identity and vitality, and complement the historic character where appropriate.
- Score Card Implementation: Finalize evaluation criteria to identify development projects that can contribute significantly to the attainment of state goals and thus be treated as strategically important projects by state and local governments.
- Inter and Intra Governmental Coordination: Encourage and increase coordination among and between agencies, local governments and affiliated groups to promote governmental efficiency and effectiveness in implementing these strategies.
- Data and Geographic Information: Continue to update and refine how this data is gathered and used to insure consistency and proper use.
- State Statutes related to Planning: Review and modify state code for consistency and for suitability to achieving land use goals.
- Create formalized partnerships between the state agriculture and economic development offices and local governments to attract and retain agricultural processors, grower cooperatives and agribusiness-support operations, as well as foster and support farmers' and on-farm markets by creating and nurturing business-friendly land-use policies and providing financial incentives.
- Continue to support the state's successful poultry industry.
- Support research and implementation efforts to establish alternative energy sources to serve the significant energy needs of the agricultural industry.
- Continue state financial support of existing farmland- and forestland-preservation programs.
- Continue to assess the viability of, and promote when appropriate, the creation and implementation of transfer-of-development- rights efforts.
- Develop a young-farmer loan program.
- Continue to seek and gain federal funding for preservation through fee-simple purchase and easements mechanisms.
- Provide estate and preservation-planning workshops to rural landowners through a partnership among state agencies, the private sector, and the Cooperative Extension.
- Expand urban-forestry program to underserved jurisdictions and large developments in the suburban setting.
- Promote and greatly expand elementary and middle school agricultural-literacy efforts.
- Promote nutrient-management education activities as appropriate in Levels 1 through 4.
- Continue successful partnership among the Delaware Nutrient Management Commission, DDA, and DNREC to promote nutrient-management practices in all Strategy Levels as well as further nutrient-management education in support of achieving state and federal water- quality goals.
- Develop and implement a cost share program for new agricultural irrigation systems. This will further stabilize and nurture the agricultural economy by reducing risk and fostering operational diversity
- Partner with DNREC and others to develop a comprehensive water allocation strategy to ensure future availability of potable water for all uses.
- Develop and adopt a comprehensive economic- development strategy that reflects the Investment Areas priorities and strategies.
- As a segment of the comprehensive strategy, develop specific approaches to the sustainable reuse of underutilized industrial facilities.
- Work with the business community, appropriate governmental agencies and nonprofit organizations to assist businesses in implementing energy-conserving technologies while providing opportunities to grow "green"- based businesses in Delaware.
- Review and, if necessary, realign business- development incentives to assure that they support the investment-area strategies.
- Continue and expand, where feasible, formal downtown and small business/entrepreneur development programs.
- Enhance coordination/collaboration with county and municipal economic development operations to assure compliance with the investment-area priorities and strategies.
- Continue to participate in the Preliminary Land Use Service (PLUS) process and direct proposed educational facilities to the PLUS process for project review.
- Continue to direct education infrastructure to Investment Levels 1 or 2 and authorize educational facilities to be located in Level 3 only:
- If adequate public and civil infrastructure is in place or will be in place when the educational facility requires said infrastructure.
- When no other reasonable and viable educational-facility sites, which are in reasonable proximity to the communities being served, are available within Investment levels 1 or 2.
- Continue to direct education infrastructure away from Investment Level 4 and Out-of-Play Areas.
- Continue to promote the integration of school sites into adjacent communities through facility usage, as governed by local-school-district board policies and site design that promotes pedestrian- friendly access.
- Continue to liaise with districts, state agencies, local jurisdictions and developers to help achieve the optimal resolution to educational facility locations.
- Continue to encourage and enable the use of school campuses that co-locate multiple educational facilities on a single site, thus sharing common facilities and reducing infrastructure costs.
- Delaware communities via federal and state programs designed to get foreclosed properties back on line, as well as outreach and support to local communities struggling with abandoned properties and subdivisions.
- Provide outreach to local communities planning for affordable housing via the Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) Affordable Housing Resource Center, which is an online resource for government officials and public viewers to learn about their community's housing needs and strategies to address these needs.
- Market and educate local officials and planners on the importance of planning for housing for all income levels via the continued successful partnership among DSHA, University of Delaware (UD), and Office of State Planning Coordination to conduct an annual course on housing as part of the UD Institute for Public Administration's Delaware Planning Education Program.
- Provide technical assistance and support to local communities on a wide range of housing and community-development initiatives.
- Use Housing Development Fund to fund new construction in only Level 1 and Level 2 Areas.
- Provide public support to developments containing long-term affordable housing where appropriate.
- Preserve affordability of existing affordable housing to prevent displacement and protect public investment.
- In partnership with the Office of State Planning Coordination, continue density and design mobile workshops to raise awareness about well-designed neighborhoods and the role of density to those in the planning industry and residents who often oppose high-density development.
- Continue "live near your work" efforts among the state, local jurisdictions, and employers to provide financial assistance to employees who purchase homes near their place of employment.
- Advance the idea of requiring land-use proposals using state resources to include a percentage of long-term affordable housing.
- Assist in the revitalization of distressed neighborhoods by encouraging businesses, firms, and individuals paying Delaware income tax -either personal or corporate - to invest in programs serving impoverished neighborhoods by offering tax credits to offset their Delaware tax liability.
Natural Resources and the Environment
- Integrate public health and environmental outcomes into land use decision-making by renewing commitment to air quality, water quality and remediation of contaminated sites.
- Mitigate damaging and costly flooding by promoting smart stormwater practices and enhancing wetlands to increase their water retention and ecological value. As coastal storms and flooding become more severe due to more intense weather events and sea-level rise, assist state agencies and local governments with data and planning to prevent disasters and avoidable taxpayer expense.
- Integrate an infrastructure overlay into the planning process that includes roads, drinking water, sewer, stormwater, broadband, and energy distribution/transmission to focus state investments and drive private investment.
- Develop Conservation Opportunity Areas that are watershed and science-based to show which areas are most ecologically vulnerable and where investments should be prioritized for conservation and restoration.
- Work to improve water quality by supporting large municipal wastewater systems and discouraging the use of community wastewater systems, particularly outside of identified growth areas and strengthening regulations for individual on-site wastewater systems.
- Prevent damaging and costly inland flooding while recognizing the important role and maintaining the free ecological services of freshwater wetlands.
- Discouraging the use of community wastewater systems, particularly outside of identified growth areas and strengthening regulations for individual on-site wastewater systems.
State Facilities and Investments
The state will promote locations for public facilities that will enhance community integrity and encourage the use of more than one transportation option. State investments in public facilities, such as schools, libraries, courts, and health-care and public safety buildings, should be strategically located to foster community identity and vitality, and complement the historic character where appropriate. The focus of such locations will be in the Levels 1 and 2 Areas. The location of public facilities in Levels 3 and 4 Areas will be based on specific needs and conditions as warranted. Additionally, investments in Levels 3 and 4 will focus on parkland expansions, open-space purchase, green energy, and agricultural preservation where appropriate.
- Maintain the state's current system in good repair.
- Continue to focus on improving the operational efficiency of the traffic-signal system.
- Prioritize financial resources to improve system performance that compliments the state strategies.
- Continue focus on improving the ability of the transportation system to help protect the users from injury and death.
- Enhance efforts to meet the changing needs of senior travelers.
- Engage in more master planning with local governments.
- Prioritize resource commitments with local governments in order to implement adopted master plans.
- Specifically focus on creating an inventory of pedestrian facilities (sidewalks) and then filling in any gaps.
- Collaborate to link cities and towns by a network of off-alignment multi-use paths that can be used by commuters in addition to recreational pedestrians and bicyclists.
- Reduce the rate of growth of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) as a result of all these efforts plus the efforts of businesses to reduce business- related travel.
- Focus on meeting the needs of travelers that have impediments.
- Collaborate more in efforts to manage storm water more effectively.
- Work with sister agencies to better understand how to be prepared for possible climate changes and its related effects.
- Continued collaborative efforts with local governments and related industries to create more sustainable communities.