Sussex Planning & Zoning Votes on Overbrook Towne Center - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Sussex Planning & Zoning Votes on Overbrook Towne Center

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GEORGETOWN, Del.- When property owner Kenny Hopkins heard that The Planning and Zoning Commission voted to recommend approval on the controversial Overbrook Towne Center, which would be adjacent to his home,  he said it was "devastating" news.

"It's just disheartening," he said. "You know - it's just a shame that you are going to see a farm like that - that's going to be destroyed."

At the June 11 meeting, it initially looked like the project would not get approval after the first motion was for denial. Commissioner I.G. Burton made the motion, calling the proposal "inconsistent with surrounding properties" and "not compatible with the great marsh."

This motion, however, was shot down by a 3-2 vote.

Directly after, another commissioner motioned for approval and that passed with three votes. This came as disappointing news for many such as Hopkins. Throughout the Public Hearing process, hundreds raised concerns over the shopping center.

"They're not trying to help the residents," Hopkins said. "All they want to do is put money in Sussex County's pocket."

Chairman for Planning and Zoning, Bob Wheatley said that the decision was based solely on land use ordinances and the comprehensive plan.

"This is in a growth area," he said. "So these are the places where one would expect development to occur. It's on a major arterial highway, which is where the plan says projects like these should be."

Though the commission has recommended approval for the project, the debate is not yet over. The next step is a vote by county council. At this point, no such vote has been put on an agenda.

If approved, the proposed shopping center would be 850,000 square feet on the intersection of Route 1 and Cave Neck Road in the Milton area. This would be larger than all of the Tanger Outlets combined.

Neighbors such as Rich Holtkamp said they are concerned with traffic and environmental issues.

"There are some very realistic, solid reasons why we're opposed to this in the area," he said. "It's just too massive of a shopping center and a commercial development for it to fit in the character of the area."

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