Sussex P & Z: Cornwell promoted as appointee replacement for long-time director Lank


GEORGETOWN – Sussex County is promoting from within to fill the administrative head of an office that oversees the land-use process.

Sussex County Council on Oct. 4 cast unanimous support in appointing Janelle Cornell as the planning and zoning director appointee effective immediately, subsequently to replace current planning and zoning director Lawrence Lank upon his retirement.

Mr. Lank plans to retired at the end of this calendar year with more than four decades of service with the county.

Ms. Cornwell has served as the county’s planning and zoning manager since February of 2015.

County council president Michael Vincent, R-Seaford, congratulated Ms. Cornwell, saying we are “looking forward to working with you. It is always good when we have good people on staff that we can promote from within. We feel very confident you can do the job. Mr. Lank feels very confident you can do the job.”


Janelle Cornwell

In June, Mr. Lank announced his intention to retire at the end of December. He has served as county planning and zoning director since 1985.

Mr. Lank began his service with Sussex County as a draftsman in 1969. He is the longest-tenured employee in the history of county government in the modern era.

The planning and zoning director is a position appointed by the county council per county code, County Administrator Todd Lawson said.

“I believe based on the recommendation of the current planning and zoning director, Mr. Lank, as well as myself, the county administrator, we would recommend along with the council to fulfill that position with our current planning and zoning manager, Miss Janelle Cornwell,” said Sussex County Administrator Todd Lawson, prior to council’s action.

Council voted 5-0 supporting Ms. Cornwell’s appointment following personnel discussion in executive session.

The director of planning and zoning oversees a staff of nearly a dozen employees in one of the county’s highest-profile departments.

Planning and zoning oversees land use in unincorporated parts of Sussex County. It works with the county council, planning & zoning commission and board of adjustment as development applications work through the rezoning, subdivision, conditional use and variance processes.

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.