Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission has granted preliminary site-plan approval to Redden Ridge, a 35-acre, 85-lot subdivision planned along Old Landing Road near Rehoboth Beach.
Before voting at the Oct. 10 meeting, Commissioner Mike Johnson questioned whether the commission was bound by code to require a preservation area for an archeological site found on the parcel. “There is nothing in the code that dictates it's something we have to do,” said assistant county attorney Vince Robertson.
Developer Jack Lingo Asset Management LLC has agreed to set aside several acres as open space and not disturb the archeological site. “It's not a real significant site, and there are no human remains. It's a farmstead that has been plowed over,” Robertson said. “If remains had been found it would have triggered a new set of state regulations.”
The development will be built under the the county's cluster ordinance. Nick Hammonds of Jack Lingo Asset Management said the lots would be smaller than in a standard subdivision, allowing a higher density, as permitted by the ordinance. Under the cluster ordinance formula, 69 lots – each a quarter acre – are permitted; the developer also would have an option to add more lots by paying a $20,000 fee per lot.
Hammonds said the developer chose to add 16 more lots and pay the county $320,000 under the bonus-density ordinance. That money would be used by the county to purchase open space.
Under standard subdivision regulations, two homes per acre are permitted on half-acre lots in AR-1, agricultural-residential, zoning. Under those regulations, the Redden Ridge development would be allowed 45 to 50 lots, half the 85 lots proposed under the cluster ordinance with a density of 2.45 lots per acre.
Johnson said, under the cluster ordinance, elements of superior design would be built into the project. Those include sidewalks on both sides of the streets; a 20-foot forested buffer around the perimeter of the property; improvements to Old Landing Road as required by Delaware Department of Transportation; streets built to county specifications; a school bus stop; a pool and pool house; central water and sewer service; preservation of a historic site; and stormwater management. In addition, Johnson said, all lots face open space or buffer areas. All of those design elements must be included on the final site plan, he said.
The vote for preliminary approval was 5-0. Final site plans must be approved by the planning and zoning commission before work can proceed. County council does not review or vote on subdivision applications.