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Conditional Use Application Sparks Debate

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LEWES, Del. - At a Tuesday public hearing, debate flared in front of the Sussex County Council. The application is for conditional use, to build a Veterinary office on Old Mill Road in Lewes, where it is currently designated AR-1. The site is currently a residential home, and many neighbors at the meeting said they do not want to see it changed to a business.

The business would not be your average vet's office. The business, operated by Dr. Christina Abramowizc would focus on eastern medicines, such as herbal medications, massage therapy, and acupuncture to treat the pets. Many residents told WBOC the "commercialization" was not wanted in their residential area.

"I know a lot of my neighbors are concerned," Abramowicz said. "But they have to look at the facts. So if we go back and look at the facts, we'll see that a lot of what's going on is very low impact. It's very similar to a massage therapist working from home."

Abramowicz said that she has no intention to grow the business to a larger scale operation.

"I wouldn't be doing this if I wanted to be a big commercial vet," she said. "I really just want to help animals and help them from within my home."

Many neighbors though are concerned. At the planning and zoning office, the commission has received 45 emails from people in opposition, and only 15 in support.

"We want to keep the integrity of the neighborhood," said George Nason, one of her neighbors. "And the identity of the neighborhood."

Another neighbor Vince Brady said many people in the area bought homes there because of it's residential designation. He said it was concerning that a "commercial" business could potentially pop up next store.

"They don't expect to have businesses come in," he said of other neighbors. "They kind of count on the safety of the AR-1 zoning in Sussex County to prevent that."

The Planning and Zoning Commission is expected to make a suggestion at their next meeting on December 11. Then it will be up for a vote in County Council, which is likely to be after the New Year. If the vote takes place after the New Year, only four members of the Council will be able to vote, since incumbent Vance Phillips lost his seat in this year's election.

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