Sussex County Housing Development Sparks Debate at Public Hearin - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Sussex County Housing Development Sparks Debate at Public Hearing

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Dozens of neighbors came to the County Council meeting to make their voices heard (Source: Evan Koslof) Dozens of neighbors came to the County Council meeting to make their voices heard (Source: Evan Koslof)

LEWES, Del. - Concerns about density have some neighbors up in arms against a proposed housing development for the Lewes area. The Belle Terre housing development was reduced by nearly 50 homes since it was first proposed in April, but would still bring in 333 units, including 157 single-family homes and 176 duplexes. 

The homes would be located on nearly 124 acres in between Route 24 and Cedar Grove Road, off of Mulberry Knoll Road, bringing the density to just about 2.69 units per acre. This density is far larger than the densities of the five surrounding housing developments, which has triggered some concern.

DEVELOPMENT                                ACRES                          UNITS                     UNITS PER ACRE

Belle Terre (June Proposal)                 123.7                              333                                   2.69

Belle Terre (April Proposal)                 123.7                              378                                    3.06

Harts Landing                                      83                                 144                                          1.73

Briarwood                                            80                                  72                                              .90

Webb's Landing                                   35                                  35                                            1.00

The Retreat at Love Creek                    139                                161                                     1.16

Love Creek Landing                             163                                213                                         1.25

Patricia Morris lives across the street from the development, and said she worries not only about traffic, but also about the loss of wildlife. 

"My dad had a saying," she said. "'Enough is enough. And too much is a dog's mess. And I think we're about to reach dog-mess proportion."

The housing development would be built adjacent to the brand new Love Creek Elementary School, being built now, as well as the new State Police barracks, being built off of Mulberry Knoll Road. 

"Let's stop and think what we're doing before it's too late," she said. "When you get in the middle of it, and it's ruined, it's gone. It's not going to come back." 

At the public hearing, developers said the site fit the character of the community, since there were so many homes in the area. 

"This area has changed quite a bit," said Jim Fuqua, the developer's attorney. "It is now more urban."

The land has been owned by the Dorman family for generations. According to Travis Dorman, the grandson of the owner, the property is being sold because of the "changing landscape" around it.

"With the school coming in this close," he said in an April interview. "And the police barracks. And the development around it. He's not able to use this property the way he wants to use it. So unfortunately we are going to be making the move. Development is the best move for the property value-wise and in accordance to what's going on in the area." 

Greg Kordal, the treasurer for the Retreat at Love Creek, said that the density was far too large for the area. He said many neighbors would be more likely to support the plan if the density were to be lowered. 

"A level of 1.25 seems to work," he said. "Seems to work for us here. And it also can work for the developers and the folks who are selling their land." 

The County Council did not make any decisions after Tuesday's public hearing, as is common. The council is still awaiting a recommendation from The Planning and Zoning Commission, which met in April. 

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