Sussex County Council has approved a conditional use request sought by Southern Delaware Botanic Gardens Inc. for Botanic Gardens at Pepper Creek.
Council voted 4-1 to approve the project, which garden officials have said could take a decade to complete and cost as much as $50 million. Voting against the project was Councilman Sam Wilson, R-Georgetown.
The project is expected to be built in phases, with the first phase opening in June 2016. Garden officials say they plan to plant 8,000 shrubs, 2,000 trees, 150,000 perennials, 600,000 bulbs and 100,000 native plants. Many types of gardens are planned such as historic, vegetable, children's, meadow, water lily, forest and sand gardens as well as bogs and vernal ponds.
The proposed project would feature a large canal complete with waterfalls, bridges and boat rides. Also planned is an amphitheater, conservatory, greenhouse, farm, garden cafe and gift shop, nature center, visitor center and a pier adjoining Pepper Creek for eco-tours.
The gardens will be built on a 37-acre tract near Dagsboro, known as the Cannon Tract. Under the proposed deal, the land trust would lease the property for 99 years to Southern Delaware Botanic Gardens Inc.