Hoey Stevenson’s resignation is loss for Sussex

June 30, 2023

Kim Hoey Stevenson of Lewes has stepped down from the Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission after serving six years.

Her resignation is a great loss to the county. For a layperson to gain an understanding of county code and ordinances requires a major commitment of time and energy. Kim put in the time to become one of the commission’s more knowledgable members.

Once she passed the learning curve, she stayed busy, asking plenty of tough questions. Many applications on each agenda were in District 3, which she represented, and where development has far outpaced most other county districts.

She didn’t always vote with the majority on key subdivision and rezoning applications. However, she did garner support for several motions on controversial applications.

During her final meeting June 22, she led the way recommending denial of a request to construct a restricted-access gate in the Showfield subdivision in Lewes, in spite of more than 150 Showfield homeowners supporting it.

She also made a motion, which eventually passed, to deny the controversial Stillwater Harbor subdivision near Oak Orchard.

Sometimes officials have to make decisions on what they think is good for the community as a whole, not just one group. Hoey Stevenson lived by that creed.

She was a champion for interconnectivity to provide better emergency vehicle access and keep traffic off congested roads.

Although she won’t say it, she was frustrated with some land-use ordinances. In an unprecedented move, she sent Sussex County Council a detailed letter with her thoughts and suggestions to improve ordinances and code.

Among those, she asked council to consider forming a stakeholders’ committee including developers, engineers, environmental groups, land trusts and nonprofits to take a serious look at development-related ordinances.

She also urged council to tighten up tree-preservation regulations. Forest preservation is one of several land-use topics council plans to address soon.

In her final statement, Hoey Stevenson said, “I’ve done all that I can with the ordinances we have. Somebody else might be more productive.”

We doubt that. She was effective as she worked hard for Sussex citizens. She was at times a maverick, but at other times the commission’s voice of reason.

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