Court decision favors Sussex County in watershed buffer dispute

Delaware’s high court has struck down state regulations requiring buffers around new development near the Inland Bays watershed. 

The Delaware Supreme Court sided with Sussex County recently, saying that the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s plan was a zoning matter in the jurisdiction of counties.  According to The Associated Press,  the county has required 50-foot buffers along tidal waters since 1991. But the state’s 2008 plan calls for buffers ranging from 30 to 100 feet along creeks, streams and rivers that flow into the Rehoboth, Indian River and Little Assawoman bays.  The ruling upholds a lower court ruling earlier this year favoring the county and a group of private landowners who challenged the regulations. The state appealed that ruling to the Supreme Court.


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