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Work to move forward on Rehoboth elementary

Planners to review conditions on Oct. 13
October 6, 2017

The Cape Henlopen School District cleared its final hurdle to build a new Rehoboth Elementary School, as the city’s planning commission unanimously gave conditional approval to the site plan.

The planners said that they would re-examine conditions imposed on the site plan at their Friday, Oct. 13 meeting. The school district plans to begin construction of the new school in January. 

Controversy over the school plans were generally settled when the district received a variance from the board of adjustment to exceed maximum lot coverage requirements. Still, the planners set a number of conditions on approval: no lights on the athletic fields, low-brightness lights on the paths surrounding the property, a construction entrance off State Road, maintaining access to the Turtle Bridge over Silver Lake and a dedicated entrance on Stockley Street Extended for bus traffic, to keep buses from driving through the surrounding neighborhood.

Chairman David Mellen asked to have the conditions finalized in writing by Oct. 1, before the commission formally signs off on them. Jim Fuqua, attorney for the school district, said the district and the commission could exchange a list of conditions and agree to them before the deadline. 

Commissioner Harvey Shulman said extra time to review the conditions is needed to ensure there were no showstoppers that neither side had agreed to. Fuqua said he was amenable to that, as it would allow for modifications of terms.

Other than haggling over conditions, the planners generally supported the project.

Commissioner Mike Strange said, “This is a public project, not a private project. I think they have gone to extensive measures so far to meet the needs of the city of Rehoboth Beach.”

Commissioner Bunky Markert said, “I think it’s going to be a very positive addition and improvement to the city.”

The main concerns that remain have been voiced by residents of nearby Newbold Square, who wanted to ensure that pedestrian traffic would not go through their property and that noise would be kept to a reasonable level. The school district obliged in part by using trees to screen basketball courts closest to Newbold Square. 

The new Rehoboth Elementary School will be built similarly to the school district’s two other new elementary schools - Love Creek and H.O. Brittingham. District officials say they planned this way to not only give students at all the schools the same experience but to save money on engineering costs. Construction is planned while school is in session. The new school will be built on the same 24-acre site but will be centrally located on the lot, with bus and motor vehicle access from Stockley Street Extended. There will be walking paths around the school, in addition to two athletic fields, basketball courts, pickleball courts and tennis courts. 

 

 

 

 

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