Sterling Crossing residents voice road concerns
Sussex County homeowners residing on Copper Drive North, Copper Drive South, Cobalt Way, Bronze Street and Mercury Drive, in a neighborhood subdivision known as Sterling Crossing, have read with great concern the Cape Gazette’s coverage (in the Aug. 27 publication) of Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission’s rezoning of parcels adjacent to our community, and comments regarding the projected building of a road to connect Route 24 and Old Landing Road.
Residents of Sterling Crossing are a diverse community of part- and full-time residents, with very young and school-age children among us. We are deeply concerned that plans for a road in the area take into account the integrity and safety of our neighborhood and residents. We petition the public and Sussex County Council to consider the issues and recommendations expressed in this letter.
• Sussex County Council is considering the Herola Family LLC and Artisan’s Bank proposed commercial rezoning of agricultural land located behind Walmart in the Rehoboth Mall and the Beebe/Tunnel Cancer Center.
• The council is considering Councilman George Cole’s request that a proposed road be included as part of this rezoning plan.
• The road would be an extension of a road stub off of Route 24 (John J. Williams Highway) that now ends in the agricultural land. It would connect Route 24 to Old Landing Road near Airport Road. The specifics of the proposed road’s location and its impacts on residential roads have not appeared in the press and need to be clarified, as discussed further below
• The Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission recommended approval of the rezoning Aug. 20. There were no local or state objections to the proposed rezoning/road. The rezoning was supported by the Delaware Eye Institute and Rehoboth Mall Limited Partnership. County council will meet again Tuesday, Sept. 10.
• The commercial developer would be responsible for constructing the road, but the state will take over its maintenance after it is constructed. Consequently, the developer may seek to build the shortest, cheapest road - exactly the kind of road that might link to Sterling Crossing roads and that would have devastating impact on Sterling Crossing.
• The purpose of the road is unclear. Is it intended to divert some traffic off of a segment of Route 1? Is it to provide access to and increased use of already existing (and congested) secondary roads in the area? Is it to facilitate through traffic in the commercial development?
• The specifics of where the road would be constructed and where it will end on Old Landing Road are unclear.
• Would the road be new construction from the existing road stump from Route 24 to Airport Road and would it skirt the Sterling Crossing neighborhood entirely?
• Or would the new construction connect the existing road stump from Route 24 and an existing road in Sterling Crossing converting it to a through road rather than a road serving a small residential community?
• If the road were constructed, to what degree would the traffic on Route 1 actually be improved? Would the Level of Service (LOS) on Route 1 improve significantly from its current level (D or F?) to at least B or C?
• What is the change in projected LOS on Route 24 and Old Landing Road due to the proposed road putting more traffic on those roads? What would be the change in LOS on a Sterling Crossing road if the proposed road were to link with that road?
• What is the cost of the proposed road?
• The proposed road and commercial development would greatly impact the Sterling Crossing residential neighborhood. If county council decides that the road and development are necessary, the council should ensure that there is sufficient landscaping and other enhancements along all of Copper Drive to protect the Sterling Crossing residential neighborhood from noise and aesthetic infringement due to the commercial development and road. Such landscaping is part of the cost of the development and road.
• Sussex County Council should provide the public with responses to the questions raised in this petition.
• While the cost to the developer would be less if the new construction linked to some existing residential community road, the negative impacts on the community would be major, in fact, devastating. If a road is necessary, it should not link to any other residential roads in the community.
• The commercial developer should be responsible for the implementation of sufficient landscaping/other means of ensuring aesthetic and noise separation between both commercial development and possible road and the Sterling Crossing neighborhood or other neighborhoods.
• This rezoning is an opportunity for county council to demonstrate to the public the thoroughness of its planning consideration process and to arrive at a solution that minimizes harm and maximizes benefits to Sussex County and Rehoboth Beach area.
• Sterling Crossing neighbors are ready and willing to work with the council and the commercial developer.
Sterling Crossing residents