Milton DelawareUnited States
Sussex County Council has given developers a green light to proceed with a manufactured home park along Route 16 between Milton and Ellendale.
With a 4-1 vote at its March 19 meeting, council approved a zoning change from AR-1, agricultural-residential, to GR, general-residential, with an RPC, residential-planned community overlay, on the 154-acre parcel. However, before work can begin, Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission must approve the final site plan.
Developers of Captain's Way said they want to take their plans in a new direction. Instead of an approved single-family home subdivision, developer Pret Dyer proposed a manufactured-home park. The parcel had already been approved as a 301-lot cluster subdivision. The parcel also contains three acres of commercial land.
The approved minimum lot size of 7,500 square feet for 301 lots would be retained under the plan, Dyer said. The park would allow for home ownership on rented lots and would also provide leased lot-and-home packages.
The developers have offered 26 acres of the parcel as a donation to The Nature Conservancy to serve as a 100-foot buffer between the community and adjoining properties.
Sewer and water service to the community would be provided by Tidewater Utilities; wastewater will be pumped to the Town of Milton's treatment plant. Dyer said potential uses for the commercial area would include manufactured home sales, storage units or a convenience store.
Councilwoman Joan Deaver, D-Rehoboth Beach, cast the lone dissenting vote saying she preferred the original plan with single-family homes. She also said she was opposed to any commercial use on the property.
Vance Phillips, R-Laurel, said he approved of the project because it offers affordable housing to lower- and middle-income residents. “I think we've learned a good lesson about fair and affordable housing,” he said.
Sussex County government recently settled a federal fair-housing case with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Housing and Urban Development agency. The case was triggered by a complaint filed by Diamond State Community Land Trust following the county’s 2010 denial of the New Horizons development planned near Laurel.
The settlement allows the land trust to resubmit their plans for consideration. While county officials admitted no wrongdoing, the county’s insurance carrier paid a $750,000 financial settlement in the case.
As part of the settlement, county officials named a fair-housing compliance officer and and is developing an affordable-housing plan to ensure the county promotes equal housing opportunities. County staff must also undergo training.