Land Use and Transportation Planning Roles and Responsibilities in Delaware
Intergovernmental coordination is critical to address increased demands for public services, infrastructure expenditures, and capital improvements. The state of Delaware, local governments, and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) need to work together collaboratively and cooperatively to develop TIDs, and/or master plans that include TIDs.
Delaware’s local governments have the authority to plan for and manage land‐use, and to institute zoning and other regulatory controls required to implement comprehensive plans. This authority includes the power to set public policy regarding the patterns, intensity, and locations of development.
DelDOT has responsibility for and jurisdiction over much of Delaware’s transportation system—including most of the state’s public transit service and 89% of the roads and streets.
MPOs, including WILMAPCO and Dover/Kent County MPO, have federal statutory responsibility and are charged with planning and coordinating how federal transportation funds are invested in a region.
Legal Basis for Intergovernmental Coordination
State legislation provides the legal basis and tools that advance intergovernmental coordination in Delaware. Delaware Strategies for State Policies and Spending is a state policy and plan that is used to guide state investments that foster orderly growth and development. Delaware’s Office of State Planning Coordination (OSPC) states that the intent of this document is to “coordinate land‐use decision‐making with the provision of infrastructure and services in a manner that makes the best use of our natural and fiscal resources.”
The state has created five levels that determine areas that are most prepared for growth and where the state can make the most cost-effective infrastructure investment—including transportation. When a TID is created via an agreement between DelDOT and a local government(s), it will be located in an area:
- Where the counties and municipalities are planning for growth
- Within an Investment Level 1, 2, or 3 area, as described in the Strategies for State Policies and Spending
- Identified and mapped within a Delaware local government Comprehensive Plan
The Delaware Preliminary Land Use Service (PLUS) process, as authorized by state law, provides for state agency review of major land use change proposals at the start of the land development process. The creation of a TID, which is proposed as part of a Comprehensive Plan update or amendment, will trigger a PLUS process review by state agency officials. The process is designed to identify and mitigate potential impacts of development that may affect areas beyond local boundaries; to fully integrate state and local land use plans; and to bring state agency staff together with developers, and local officials, early in the process.