Lewes Holds Public Forum to Discuss Townhouse Moratorium - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Lewes Holds Public Forum to Discuss Townhouse Moratorium

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LEWES, Del. - The Lewes City Council held a public forum Thursday night to discuss putting a moratorium on current special exceptions for building town homes.

Until recently, town homes without commercial space underneath were not allowed to be built in the area around Savannah Rd. and Massachusetts Ave known as the Lewes Marine Commercial District. However, according to Councilwoman Bonnie Osler, the spaces were not renting.

So in May, the council voted to allow all-residential town homes with approval from the Board of Adjustment. However, they did not anticipate how many requests to build town homes would come in.

A moratorium on this special exception would give the council time to reevaluate the plan.

Everyone who spoke at the forum agreed this was a good idea. The city council will vote on having the moratorium at their next meeting in March. 

Cliff Diver of Lewes is planning on building town homes in an empty lot off Savannah Rd. He was able to get permission before the proposed moratorium with the special exception. He understands why the council wants a moratorium, but thinks town homes can be beneficial for the area.

"I think it'll help property values and probably be an improvement for the city," he said. "The idea is that if a change comes too fast and too big people get nervous about it and they want to stop and take a look at it and make sure it's the right thing to do."

Councilwoman Osler explained why the council first decided to re-look the special exception.

"We didn't see or intend to have a solid townhouse result so... maybe that's what we want but let's hit the pause button for a second," she said. "Let's take a look at this marine commercial district and let's examine if this approach to extending the commercial district hasn't proven to be the most successful formula."

Some residents think town homes might need to have restrictions.

"It looks like there should be something built there but may be out of character with the other houses that are in that area," Jeff Bass said.

Osler said she does not know what the moratorium will bring about or an exact plan of action, but she does think the special exceptions need a second look.


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