Lewes council to vote on the townhouse project on July 12

A hearing for the Lewes Waterfront Preserve townhouse project on June 22 attracted little public comment, as final approval for the 89-unit subdivision is expected to be presented to the mayor and city council on Monday, July 12.

Planned for 34 acres off New Road near the Canary Creek Bridge, the project has been in the works for several years, submitted shortly after the city created annexation zoning districts to encourage developers to come up with plans within the city rather than with Sussex County.

This is exactly what Setting Properties Inc. has done, taking advantage of the fact that townhouses are a licensed use to create a unique community in the immediate vicinity.

Janelle Cornwell, the city’s planning and development coordinator, said all lots in the plan are city code compliant. The developer is also providing additional on-street parking, sidewalks, lampposts and street trees throughout the development, she said.

The plan offers more than 60 percent open space, a 50-foot wetland buffer, and no floodplain development.

When asked what amenities the developer offers, Cornwell said the plan includes walking trails, benches, a gazebo, and picnic tables. It does not include a clubhouse, swimming pool, playground, tennis or pickleball courts or other active equipment.

Ron Sutton of Civil Engineering Associates, the developer’s engineer, said the units will be 28 feet wide to allow for a main unit on the first floor. Townhouses could be built three stories or 36 feet, with the exception of units built along New Road, which will be limited to two stories.

The proponent worked with the Lewes Secondary Roads Committee and agreed to a 30 foot landscaped and treed buffer zone. It will also add a separate shared-use path from New Road that will connect to a crosswalk just west of New Road’s intersection with Schaffer Lane and Canary Creek Drive. The road will be connected to the shared use road under construction as part of the Tower Hill development.

Doug Spelman from the nearby community of Canary Creek was one of the few residents to speak at the hearing. He acknowledges that the developer has met the requirements of the city code, but urges the mayor and city council to change the code so that this type of development does not happen again.

“This development is a great example of how not to develop property in the town of Lewes,” he said. “This development is not at all what Lewes strives to be and stands for. Despite its compliance with the city code, it is an absolute disappointment.

The city will accept public comments on the project until 4 p.m. on Thursday, July 8. To submit comments, visit http://ci.lewes.de.us/forms.aspx?FID=78.

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