Sussex County Council Denies Overbrook Town Center for Second Ti - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Updated: Sussex County Council Denies Overbrook Town Center for Second Time

Posted: May 01, 2018 11:37 AM Updated:
This sign was put up by Kenny Hopkins, who owns a farm adjacent to the proposed site (Source: WBOC) This sign was put up by Kenny Hopkins, who owns a farm adjacent to the proposed site (Source: WBOC)

LEWES, Del.- The Sussex County Council has voted to deny for a second time a rezoning application for construction of what would be the largest shopping center in southern Delaware.

The council on Tuesday turned down the rezoning application for developer TD Rehoboth, LLC's Overbrook Towne Center in a 3-2 vote.

After originally denying Overbrook in a 4-1 vote in 2016, the council was court-ordered to re-hear the application. During Tuesday's vote, Councilman I.G. Burton noted that the council's vote was solely about the land's use, not what would be built on it.

"It is not about a proposed mall or their financial feasibility," he said. "It is not about the overpass. It's solely a land use decision: is a CR zoning of 114 acres appropriate today in this location?"

Burton, Council President Michael Vincent and Council Vice President George Cole voted against the project. Sam Wilson voted in favor, citing property rights, and Rob Arlett said voting yes was good for Sussex County's future as the county continues to grow. 

"We cannot keep saying no and keep saying no to things," he says. "We have to be visionaries as our predecessors were because otherwise we will be constantly reacting which is why people are very negative about a lot of things today, and I get that."

Arlett also cited the potential economic impact of the proposed 850,000-square-foot shopping center on Route 1 near Lewes, citing the transfer taxes and building permit fees it would generate. In the past, supporters have said Overbrook would benefit the local economy by bringing with it hundreds of construction and retail jobs. They also said it would generate millions of dollars of revenue from tourists who come to shop and serve the local community as well.

Those against it said it was out of character with the area. Neighbor Kenny Hopkins says the development would have drastically changed his way of life.

"If it had passed I was going to have to go over the overpass, go into the shopping center, around this roundabout, follow the contour of the back of all the stores [to get home]," he explains. "It was going to be astronomical."

He says he hopes the property stays farmland for years to come. Members of the Overbrook Towne Center Coalition--a group of neighbors who have long expressed concern over the project-- say they understand the parcel may be developed in the future, but now they trust it will be done with care.

"It seems to be much more forward looking and much more in favor of smart development," says Jeffrey Stone. "There is a lot of growth happening. It needs to be accommodated, but in the right ways."

For more on the Overbrook Towne Center application history, click here


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