The Grande at Canal Pointe community in Rehoboth Beach is one step closer to constructing a dock to provide access to the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal for residents launching kayaks, canoes and paddleboards.
At is May 13 meeting, Sussex County Planning and Zoning unanimously recommended approval of an application to amend a condition placed on the original site plan approval for the community prohibiting docks on the canal.
Sussex County Council has scheduled a public hearing on the application at 1:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 15, in the county administration building, 2 The Circle, Georgetown.
CP Townhomes LLC (Canal Pointe RPC) filed to amend condition 15 included in the approval of change of zone 1538 dating back to 2004.
Canal Pointe, located along Hebron Road in West Rehoboth, includes 288 single-family homes, and 307 condominiums and townhomes on a 181-acre parcel bordering the canal. No lots have canal access.
Access to the dock would be through Canal Park at the northern end of the community. The park includes a sidewalk and mulch path, picnic table and parking.
Making a motion to amend the condition, Commissioner Bruce Mears said a single dock with one point of entry to the canal for non-motorized watercraft has less environmental impact on the canal than motorboats using existing personal docks and the nearby Henlopen Acres marina.
The approval would be contingent on the issuance of permits by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Delaware Department of Natural Resources for a dock.
Conditions imposed by the commission include construction of one dock with no storage of watercraft. No specifications were discussed by the commission, but an amended community master plan and new site plan showing the location and size of the dock must be submitted for review and approval by the commission if the application is approved by county council.
Several Henlopen Acres – directly across the canal – are opposed to the application.
Mackenzie Peet, an attorney representing 10 residents, expressed their concerns during the commission's April 22 public hearing. She said the condition is in place to preserve and protect the environment as well as neighboring property owners.
“This is a request of convenience and not necessity,” she said. “If approved, there is a safety concern in this narrow area of the canal. This is a terrible location for a recreation area or dock. Private docks are much different than community docks. No private docks have hundreds of people using them.”
Residents also expressed concerns for an eagle’s nest along the canal near the proposed dock site.