Sussex P&Z Commission Recommends Denying Belle Terre Housing Dev - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Sussex P&Z Commission Recommends Denying Belle Terre Housing Development

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The housing development is proposed for 124 acres off of Mulberry Knoll Road in Lewes (Source: WBOC) The housing development is proposed for 124 acres off of Mulberry Knoll Road in Lewes (Source: WBOC)

LEWES, Del. - After  more than four months of debate, the Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission voted "not" to recommend approval of the controversial Belle Terre housing development in Lewes. The developers are looking to build 333 units off of Mulberry Knoll Road, including 157 single-family homes and 176 duplexes.  The Sussex County Council will now have the final say on the development.

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

Steven Copp, who lives near the property said he was concerned about the traffic which would be created by a new housing development. Copp not only lives on Mulberry Knoll Road, but also he owns a business, Copp's Seafood, which is located less than a mile away. 

"It would be more business," he said. "But the traffic aspect is the worst part about it. Because now they're backed up from all the way to the end of the road. And on weekends trying to get out on 24, It's just like a gridlock here anymore."

At the public hearings in front of both The Planning and Zoning Commission and County Council, the developers argued that housing was a good fit for the area. Belle Terre would be built adjacent to the Love Creek Elementary School, which is being built now. For that reason, they argued that housing was a logical next step. 

"This area has changed quite a bit," said Jim Fuqua, the developer's attorney at the June public hearing. "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." 

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