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Sale of Groome Church land a travesty

September 22, 2017

When I read about the sale of the Groome Church property on New Road in Lewes to a developer, I was more than disappointed. It brought to mind a biblical comment, loosely quoted, "What does it profit a man to gain the whole world yet suffer the loss of his soul?"

To gain so great a profit on donated land when community residents, governmental agencies, and our lawmakers worked so hard to acquire the land for open space shows lack of a heart, if not a soul. Money from developers who will only cause damage and expense to Lewes may make the church richer, but it hardly says, "Love thy neighbor!"

Hopefully, members of Sussex County Planning and Zoning and Sussex County Council will remember the devastation and flooding lessons recently learned from the Houston, Texas hurricane incident and keep them in mind when development is requested for this and all properties in our area.

1. Drainage impeded by construction boom.
2. Geography makes rising water particularly dangerous (everything runs downhill).
3. Flood protections have trouble keeping pace with development.
4. Little land left to act as a sponge.

The church has set a precedent for more development off New Road. The general area includes about 1,000 acres. Most of that area is currently zoned for two houses per acre. Vehicles from these new developments would use not only New Road but Fourth Street and Pilottown Road to access Lewes. And then remember this is the emergency evacuation route.

In recent years, the community group Citizens Advocating Livable Lewes negotiated with a developer to dedicate 25 acres along New Road as open space in perpetuity to help maintain a rural entrance into the city. Unfortunately, that same consideration for the ambiance of our town is not held by Groome Church members.

Maryanne L. Ennis
Lewes

 

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