SC Online Content Editor
GEORGETOWN -- Sussex County Council approved the rezoning of more than 700 acres for more than 1,000 homes near Long Neck at its regular meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2003.
The approval of the rezoning for the Baywood project, located on both sides of Route 24 and both sides of Route 5, will bring the equivalent of another small town to the area that has seen two other large projects approved in the past several months -- The Peninsula and The Bay Farm.
The council voted 3-2 to ignore the recommendation of the county Planning and Zoning Commission that the development be reduced by 330 homes from the 1,056 homes the developers, Baywood LLC and Tunnell Companies, L.P., had requested.
Council member George Cole, R-Cedar Neck, noting the cumulative impact of the three developments on the surrounding area, said, "it shows a real lack of sensitivity to the existing conditions."
"In the past," Cole said, "we used to respect those reductions," referring to the planning commission's recommendation."When you start playing these games, it's hard for someone like me to support this," he said.
Council member Dale Dukes, however, disagreed. "It's wrong to cut density," he said. "All that is doing is to create sprawl."
Council member Finley Jones also voted to keep the plannning commission's recommended reduction, but when a second vote was held to approve the overall project, Jones voted in favor, saying, "the communities this company has done in the past have been nothing short of first class."
Council member Vance Phillips said the developer "came in with a good faith number," rather than inflating it in anticipation of reductions. "I think the applicant's number is appropriate," Phillips said.
The 722-acre tract has been put together over the past 10 years as the developers have purchased land from 11 property owners. In 1997, the county approved a conditional use application for a golf course and mobile home community of 726 homes. The new plans have reduced the number of mobile homes to 413; the remaining mobile home lots will be replaced by townhomes.
In addition, 93 more single-family lots will be added east of Route 24 and south of Sussex Road 298. On the west side, the developer proposed 212 single-family homes and 181 townhomes west of Route 24. However, that will have to change; one of the conditions of the council's approval is that no townhomes or apartments be built west of Route 24.
The golf course and mobile home community opened in 2000; construction of the remainder of the project is expected to continue through 2020. Nine more holes have been approved for the golf course.
Council Backs Sussex Shooting Range
Sussex County council passed a resolution backing a proposed shooting range and hunter education facility slated to be built west of Georgetown.
The facility will be built in the Old Furnace Wildlife Area. It will be used by Sussex police officers for firearms practice as well as private citizens. It will include classrooms for hunter education and other programs.
A week earlier, police officers told the council the facility would allow their departments to train on their weapons without leaving Sussex County. Ocean View Police Chief Kenneth McLaughlin told the council the range is "long overdue" in Sussex.
Inlet Bridge Input to be Sought
State officials will soon launch a "listening tour" to gather public opinion on the proposed replacement bridge.
The series of meetings will "help us get a sense of what people are thinking," said Carolann Wick, chief engineer of the newly formed Division of Transportation Solutions, a state transportation department wing combining design, planning and construction of road projects.
Wick said DelDOT wants to "create a signature bridge design" for the Inlet bridge, which has been targeted for replacement because strong incoming and outgoing tides have caused scouring around its pilings, resulting in extremely deep holes near the bridge supports.
DelDOT plans to break ground on the new bridge in 2004, Wick said. She added that the intent is to build a bridge that does not compete with the surrounding views of the ocean and the Indian River Bay. The project is expected to cost about $57 million.
Wick also updated the council briefly on the proposed Route 113 realignments. The project, still in the very early stages, would help accommodate increased traffic in Sussex County, would help separate local traffic from through traffic, and would help alleviate Route 1 traffic, particularly during the summer, Wick said.
Council member Vance Phillips commented that "some folks suggest that by building roads, you only encourage more growth," creating a "vicious cycle."
Wick replied that the Route 113 project, especially, is one that is "not always going to make everybody happy." She added, however, that the project is still in the extremely early stages. "It's a concept," she said. Cost estimates for the project range from $400 million to $750,000 million.In Other Business ...
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