Lewes’ City Hall meeting room filled to capacity for the Lewes Planning Commission’s meeting to set public hearing dates for two major subdivisions: Highland Heights and Harbor Pointe/Point Farm.
The commission’s April 1 meeting was set to determine whether the two major subdivision applications were complete and to set public hearing dates.
Highland Heights is a proposed 34-home development in a wooded area off West Fourth Street.
Harbor Pointe/Point Farm is seeking annexation to the city. The project is located off New Road in unincorporated Sussex County near the Canary Creek community. The project would contain 69 new homes built on large lots, many with water views.
The meeting quickly bogged down when a handful of Lewes residents turned the meeting into a bout.
“I feel like making us an adversary is a mistake,” commission vice chairwoman Kay Carnahan said.
At the meeting’s outset Michael Hoffman, planning commission attorney, explained the task at hand was for the commission to examine each applicant’s file, and to set dates for public hearings if the files were complete.
Henry Baynum, Lewes building official, reviews files, including comments about the projects from various city departments, before the commission meeting is set. If something is lacking, he contacts the developer so any missing information can be provided.
Despite Carnahan’s assurance residents would have several opportunities to voice concerns, ask questions and explain their positions, some residents apparently didn’t believe her.
Homeowner Joe Stormer said the Highland project would aggravate a stormwater runoff problem that has existed in the area for years. Stormer said the city installed a 6-inch drainage pipe to correct the problem in 2001, but it didn’t work.
Stormer, a Highland Acres tax ditch official, said the development shouldn’t be allowed to move forward unless the stormwater drainage problem is corrected.
“The tax ditch has to work no matter what,” Carnahan said.
Area property owner Ric Moore said the Highland application was incomplete because the Lewes Parks and Recreation Commission had not submitted comments about the developer’s intended use of open space.
“They’ve failed to meet a statutory requirement. They didn’t do what the law requires,” Moore said, referring to a section of Lewes city code.
The commission voted to ask parks and recreation to submit comments. Before hearing dates are set, the panel decided it would be best to know what facility is large enough and available to accommodate the number of people likely to attend. In the end, both applications were deemed complete, but no hearing dates were set.
To check for a public hearing date, visit Lewes City Hall, the Lewes Public Library, or go to www.ci.lewes.de.us.