Harbor Point public hearing postponed to November

Annexation meeting was slated for Sept. 3
The proposed site of the Harbor Point major subdivision in Lewes. ARTWORK BY CHRISTOPHER D. FOSTER
September 2, 2014

A public hearing about the annexation of the land for the proposed Harbor Point major subdivision has been postponed until November.

At a special meeting Aug. 29, Lewes Mayor and City Council met with City Solicitor Glenn Mandalas to review the timeline for the Harbor Point approval. The most notable result of the meeting was the rescheduling of the public hearing on annexation from Wednesday, Sept. 3, to Monday, Nov. 3. The date is still tentative because the city must amend its 2005 comprehensive plan to allow for smaller lot sizes. The amendment, submitted by Mandalas Aug. 28, must be reviewed by the Office of State Planning Coordination.

“The dates in our schedule assume the state's comments will be timely and simple,” said Councilman Rob Morgan in an email to his constituents.

The postponement was not a result of something that happened during the review process, said Mayor Ted Becker; the comp plan amendment required the city to shift back its timeline.

Becker said he expects the comp plan amendment to go before the Preliminary Land Use Service for review later this month. The process could take at least 40 days, he said.

The PLUS review conflicted with the city's process because once a public hearing is held on annexation, the city will likely require an annexation election within 30 to 60 days thereafter.

Becker said he is confident the city can hold the annexation public hearing in November.

The city's 2005 comprehensive plan states that if development were to occur in the area where Jack Lingo Asset Management is seeking to build Harbor Point, then the city would create a large-lot zoning classification to allow for lots of two to 10 acres. The city never made the change to its zoning ordinance, so the comp plan needs to be amended to allow the developer to build under R-3 zoning, which carries a 5,000-square-foot minimum for lots. One acre is equal to about 43,000 square feet.

After review by the Office of State Planning Coordination, a comp plan amendment goes before the governor, who may certify the comp plan or return it to the municipality for revision.

Jack Lingo Asset Management is seeking to develop 69 single-family lots on a 108-acre parcel of land adjacent to the Great Marsh northwest of New Road. The city's planning commission granted preliminary consent approval with 21 conditions in August. One of the conditions of approval was an amendment to the comp plan. Annexation would be the next step as the developer begins working on more in-depth plans for the subdivision.

The public comment period was open from June 10 through Sept. 3 in advance of the planned public hearing, but it has been extended until Nov. 3 to accommodate for the new date.