Public Hearing Held on Showfield Development - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Public Hearing Held on Showfield Development

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GEORGETOWN, Del. - The Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission this week held a public hearing on the controversial Showfield development, which has been in the works for close to a decade. The developer wants to split approximately 132 acres of farmland on Gills Neck Road just East of Lewes into 166 separate lots. Most of those lots would be used for single-family homes. 

Initially, the developer Jack Lingo Asset Management,  wanted to annex the county land into the city of Lewes, in order to take advantage of the city utilities. However that project was derailed when the economy went sour in 2008. Five years later, the economy started to improve, and so the developer was eager to move quickly. 

In late 2013, the developer spoke with officials from the City of Lewes, and decided that the plan as originally proposed would be too time-consuming. They decided to abandon the lengthy annexation process for now, looking to the county instead. 

At the hearing, nobody spoke in support of the project, but various people raised concerns with traffic and overpopulation of that area. One person went as far as to call the roadways "woefully inadequate."

WBOC caught up with neighbor Irving Walls, who said he had his concerns as well. 

"One development means about 200 cars," he said. "That means 200 more cars than there is here now. So it's a big impact on this road." 

Walls has lived in the Lewes area his entire life, but he moved to Gills Neck Road in 1976. He said there was nothing but farm land in the area at that time. 

"The atmosphere is not what it used to be," he said. "It used to be quiet." 

Showfield would join various other developments such as Senators, Wolfe Pointe, Wolfe Runne and Hawks Eye. These recent developments line the way along Gills Neck Road. FedEx driver Joe Dimaio said that the population has grown tremendously in that area. 

"The volume of work we have coming has tripled," he said. 

On top of the 132 acres being designated for this project, the developer has also left a large chunk of land vacant to the North. Attorneys at the public hearing said that the developer had not decided what would be done with that section of the property, located in Lewes. Dimaio said he can see both the pros and the cons. 

"I think it's good for the area because it's bringing the tax money in," Dimaio said of the proposed development. "But I think in the long-run it's just going to be too much. The volume is going to pick up the traffic." 

Nick Hammonds from Jack Lingo said that the goal of the development was to create a place the community could be proud of and that would boost visits to the area. 

"The project before the county today continues a longstanding vision of developing high quality housing in the Lewes area," he said.

In response to the traffic issues, Hammonds told WBOC that the developer was willing to spend money on fixing up some of the adjacent roadways. The development has two exits, both of which are on Gills Neck Road. 

"The project owners have committed to road improvements including roadway and shoulder expansions along the property frontage where feasible," he said. 

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