The City of Brighton, Delaware


A practical solution for the rational development of
eastern Sussex County's Cape Region


Welcome to The City of Brighton home page.

This city doesn't actually exist, at least not yet.

It's an idea about how to handle the intense development of the Cape Region of eastern Sussex County, Delaware.

Just west of the popular seaside municipalities of Lewes, Rehoboth Beach, Dewey Beach, and Henlopen Acres lies a 21-square mile segment of the county. This area is now experiencing the level of intense growth usually associated with a booming city.

There's only one problem--it's not a city.

It's not even a real suburb, as most folks understand the term.

Instead, it's an area formerly filled by farms and forests, supported by a very modest network of farm-to-market roads, and now dotted with a sizeable collection of residential subdivisions. Most of these developments only connect with the two-lane roads outside their borders. As a result, congestion on some of these "county roads"* can be truly startling, especially for year-round residents, and not just during the busy tourist season.

State Route 1 cuts through the center of this area, and in keeping with long-standing Sussex County zoning practices serves as the area's primary commercial strip. Route 1 is also the primary access for all of the beach communities hugging Delaware's Atlantic shoreline.

Trying to meet these two needs with the same highway means that traffic chokes Route 1 every summer weekend. In addition, due to the growth of year-round population in the last fifteen years, wintertime traffic volumes on Route 1 now match the summer traffic peaks of less than thirty years ago.

Much of the Cape Region is served by the County's West Rehoboth Sewer District. This plant can handle more development than now exists. Nonetheless, further planning and improvements to these facilities are needed in order to handle the predicted growth in the sewer district over the next twenty years. In the meantime, the sewer systems operated by the Town of Lewes and the City of Rehoboth Beach both require significant environmental upgrades. Neither municipality can continue with their existing plants forever. Even if these municipalities chose to add to their boundaries, most likely neither of them can handle the sewer needs of any major properties annexed into the towns.

There's no indication that the development pattern seen in the Cape Region since the late 1980s will change anytime soon. The leading edge of the Boomer generation is now buying beach property for their eventual retirement, and many Boomers' parents are already here.

Many people realize that there needs to be a better way to support all those who want to live in this area, either as full-time or seasonal residents.

The City of Brighton proposal can meet that objective, as described in the following vision statement:

Brighton, a new city in the Cape Region, can anticipate and handle the area’s incoming growth and provide the necessary municipal mix of commonly held infrastructure and services for the entire community.

This site is dedicated to helping others understand how creating a new city in Sussex County can carry out that vision, with special provisions not used previously for other Delaware municipalities. It also seeks your support in sharing this goal.

Thank you for your interest!

Frederick H. Schranck

*Note: I put quotes around the term "county roads" because there are none in Delaware, at least as most folks around the country understand the phrase. Delaware's "county roads" are two-lane highways maintained by DelDOT.

Responsibility for publicly-owned streets and highways is left to either municipalities or DelDOT. County governments are primarily responsible for land use controls outside the incorporated areas, but have no ongoing duties with respect to roads and highways.

Unlike most other states, municipalities are the only form of government in Delaware that combines significant land use authority with transportation responsibilities.


Why is it called Brighton?

Where are the city limits?

How does the City of Brighton proposal fit with the State of Delaware's land use policies, especially the Minner Administration's Livable Delaware initiative?

What are the critical elements of the required plan for the City of Brighton?

Using a Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) system to focus development and preserve open space

Providing a real city transportation network of streets and parkways

The Downtown District--a new commercial district, mixed with affordable residential options

The City Park system--places for Brighton's residents to enjoy the area without being stuck in beach traffic

The Next Steps

Media coverage



Contact Information:

The City of Brighton, Delaware
P.O. Box 88
Nassau, DE  19969

©Frederick H. Schranck 2003