A Lewes annexation committee unanimously recommended Aug. 25 to allow the Highland Acres community to move forward with annexation into the City of Lewes. Lewes City Council will make a decision in September on moving forward.
“The city would find it favorable to annex Highland Acres,” said Fred Beaufait, chairman of the annexation committee and deputy mayor.
Highland Acres is a 56-home area that juts into Lewes city limits near Blockhouse Pond, although it technically lies under county jurisdiction. It is surrounded by the City of Lewes on three sides.
The committee reviewed how the addition of Highland Acres would affect utilities, finances and other city services. Member Bonnie Osler said the residential one and two zonings of Highland Acres was consistent with the City of Lewes. Beaufait said the revenues that Highland Acres would generate would cover city expenses including police coverage and street maintenance, although he had no monetary amount for those costs.
In June, 19 residents signed and submitted a petition requesting annexation into the City of Lewes.
Their main reason for seeking annexation is to hook into the city's water and wastewater services. Some of the residents have aging septic systems that could cost thousands of dollars to replace; connecting to the city would still come at a cost, but the expense will be lower than a new septic system, officials said.
BPW General Manager Darrin Gordon estimates the project would cost Highland Acres residents about $40,000, broken down into $200 monthly payments.
Lewes City Council will now consider the annexation for approval based on the committee's recommendation. Residents of Highland Acres and those in the City of Lewes will vote separately on the annexation before it is final, Beaufait said.
“I think the advantages that the city can provide you is certainly a long-term advantage,” Beaufait said.