Duplexes Planned for the Old Ice House in Lewes - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Duplexes Planned for the Old Ice House in Lewes

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The Ice House in Lewes was originally a slaughter house (Source: WBOC) The Ice House in Lewes was originally a slaughter house (Source: WBOC)
Plans for the duplexes near the intersection of New Road and Pilotttown Road (Source: Lewes Building Official) Plans for the duplexes near the intersection of New Road and Pilotttown Road (Source: Lewes Building Official)

LEWES, Del. - The historic Ice House could be torn down to make way for new homes, if a developer has his way. The 2.1 acre plot of land, located by the corner of New Road and Pilottown roads in Lewes, is the site of a proposed plan to build 12 duplexes, with a total of 24 units.

In front of the Lewes Planning Commission, the local developers made their pitch on Wednesday night to change the zoning from Industrial to Residential. The "R-4" designation would allow the developer to build a maximum of 30 units on the property. 

Lewes Building Official Henry Baynum said that approximately 30 neighbors came to the meeting, and discussed the Ice House for about an hour. 

"They were not against it being rezoned to residential," he said. "They just had questions and concerns about inter-connectivity. Was there going to be any connections to other streets. How are they going to come back out. How many units are going there? Is it too dense? Too much density for that parcel? Things of that nature were asked.” 

The density would be significantly larger than adjacent properties. Baynum said that most of the nearby properties had one unit on approximately 10,000 square feet. Meanwhile the proposed duplexes would have 24 units, over 90,000 square feet, which is a far more dense plan. 

Les Clemmer works at the Ice House Bait and Tackle shop, and said it would be sad to see the building torn down. 

"We’ve got a lot of new people moving in to the area," he said. "So it’s not like it’s not needed. But it’s like - history and stuff. You know - as far as I’m concerned. Like the older stuff seems to be disappearing more and more. Just like farmland. It’s all being turned into housing projects and stuff like that.” 

Rick Quill, one of the developers for the home, said the smaller, more affordable homes are what the market is calling for. 

"Aging in place people want smaller units," he said. "Smaller lots, and they want to be - because the problem is - the housing they’re living in now - it’s almost difficult to retrofit into what their needs are.” 

Eventually the Planning Commission is expected to offer a recommendation on the conceptual plan. Then the council will start the public hearing process. Baynum said there is likely a long road ahead.

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