Villages of Five Points residents want more control over the use of a public recreation area in the Lewes community.
Use of the area went from zero to 60 last year, said Mike Smith, an attorney representing the Villages of Five Points Property Owners Inc. He said youth recreation teams started using the area late last summer and fall for practices. “Overnight we had 200 children out there as well as barbecues and parking problems,” he said. “We are not the owners, and we can't enforce anything on them. We need an agreement that can be enforced.”
Resident John Gilbert said some residents had cars towed and people were parking on the grass and in other no-parking areas. “It was not a pleasant scene,” he said.
The residents presented their case to Sussex County planning and zoning commissioners on May 22 seeking an amendment to the original ordinance creating the recreation area. Under conditions imposed on approval of the project, a large field adjacent to Old Orchard Road was to be set aside for public use.
The amendment includes a user's application agreed to by residents and Olde Towne Point LLC, the owners of the community. The commission agreed that a change was needed and voted 4-1 for the amendment.
“The developer will turn over control at some time so this change needs to be in an ordinance,” said Olde Towne attorney John Sergovic.
Smith said the application is not designed to prohibit use of the recreation area, but to allow better management of it by requiring a damage deposit, a user's fee and adequate liability insurance. “We want to limit the risk and liability exposure as much as possible,” Smith said. “We want some protections built in.”
“We live and learn,” said Commission President Bob Wheatley. “It sounded good, and now we have to go back and fix it. It should have been thought out better. It's created a management headache that the residents are not equipped to handle.”