Proposed Gym on Savannah Road Worries Some - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Proposed Gym on Savannah Road in Lewes Worries Some

Posted: 07/17/2017 10:14:00 -04:00 Updated:

LEWES, Del. - A giant sign sits in front of chiropractor Dr. Mike Elrod's business on Savannah Road in Lewes. The message is clear: "Tell County Council No Commercial Mega Gym in Residential Neighborhoods." Elrod is referring to Midway Fitness' proposal to build a 60,000-square-foot gym on the property adjacent to him. 

"Just the fact that it's being a commercial business trying to be shoehorned into a residential area...that in itself should be enough for the County Council to deny this application," Elrod says. "That's the way my neighbors and I feel."

Midway Fitness is asking for a conditional use permit to build the gym there. Managing Member Rich Garrett says the location is ideal, as it keeps people off busy Route 1, and it will provide a number of movement therapy exercise programs for those with issues like Parkinson's-- something Garrett says Lewes is seeing more and more of.

"The senior population is growing, so we have more and more folks who need those services," he says. "We really want to provide a service that's needed here and we really do want to be good neighbors with them to the extent of making a lot of offers to make this more appealing."

Garrett says he understands neighbors' concerns, and they've already agreed to build a basement level to reduce the footprint of the building. But Elrod says the gym will cause traffic, noise at early hours, and simply look out of place in an area rife with single family homes.

"Commercial is great--we have no problem with it," he says. "[But] put it where commercial businesses should be: on the Route 1 corridor."

The Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission gave the application the green light, but now it is in the Sussex County Council's hands. A public hearing and public comment have already taken place, so all that's left is a vote.

"I understand that the County Council has a very difficult job of weighing the rights of a property owner," says Elrod. "But also, they have to recognize their responsibility to the neighbors so that that persons rights don't interfere with the rights of the neighbors that are here already."

"We're still hopeful that we're going to be able to get that facility to move into that space and to be a good neighbor like we are at Midway," says Garrett. "I really do believe once we're there, people who don't know us now will get to know us and understand we are way less threatening then they think we are."

There is no word yet on when the County Council will vote on the proposed gym. 

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