Delaware State Strategies

Delaware Strategies for State Policies and Spending

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The Strategies for State Policies and Spending (i.e., State Strategies) report is the key policy document that guides land use planning in Delaware. Developed by the Cabinet Committee on Planning Issues to fulfill its directives under , Title 29, Chapter 91 of the Delaware Code, State Strategies provides a framework for the infrastructure and service investments by state agencies. The Strategies were first developed in 1999 and are updated every five years.

In Delaware, land use decision-making is made by local governments while the State provides the bulk of investments in infrastructure and services. Therefore, one of the major goals for land use planning in Delaware is to direct development to growth areas as agreed to by State and local governments as articulated in State Strategies and local comprehensive plans. These are areas where the State and local governments (i.e., counties, cities, towns) are prepared for development with existing infrastructure and/or where infrastructure investment is planned.

State policies consider Investment Levels 1, 2, and 3 to be growth areas where infrastructure investments and

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public services are appropriate in accordance with the timing of growth. Investment Levels 1 and 2 are prioritized over Level 3, which reflects longer-term growth plans. Investments in Investment Level 4 include agricultural preservation, open space, and natural resource protection. Characteristics of each Investment Levels and out-of-play areas are described below:

  • Investment Level 1 – Mostly developed areas in municipalities or urbanized areas in the counties with higher density population and infrastructure, mixed-use development, and a variety of transportation options.
  • Investment Level 2 – Less developed, but rapidly growing, suburban and urban areas where infrastructure is in place or planned for the near future.
  • Investment Level 3 – Areas in longer-term growth plans, and/or areas within growth areas that have some environmental constraints. Although growth is planned here, infrastructure and other investments may be made further into the future.
  • Investment Level 4 – Rural and agricultural areas, suitable for natural resource protection, open space, and agricultural use, including agricultural industries.
  • Out-of-Play – Areas not available for private development activity due to public ownership, conservation by private or nonprofit entities, or environmental constraints that will not allow development by law.


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