Developer plans offices, houses on Mitchell Farm

State officials to review two rezoning requests for 50-acre parcel
January 18, 2019

Two rezoning requests for the 50-acre Zwaanendael Farm, also known as the Mitchell Farm, will go before state agencies for review Wednesday Jan. 23.

The landowner has already received a conditional use from Sussex County officials for medical offices on a 3-acre portion of the tract but now wants to rezone the entire 50-acre parcel, seeking 20 acres of commercial zoning and 30 acres of housing.

The farm sits along Kings Highway and Gills Neck Road just outside Lewes city limits. Eight acres of the original tract have already been sold.

As part of Preliminary Land Use Service review, a plan was submitted by L.W. and J.T. Mitchell Family Limited Partnership to rezone 20 acres from AR-1, agricultural-residential, to C-4 planned commercial district and a site plan for 201,000 square feet of commercial/office space. The parcel includes the Mitchell farmhouse, dating back to the late 19th century, and an adjacent rental property.

A conceptual site plan presented to PLUS shows six lots – two along Gills Neck Road; one at the corner of Gills Neck Road and Kings Highway; and three bordering Kings Highway.

The developer is proposing office buildings of 26,000 and 18,000 square feet on the two lots along Gills Neck Road. The remaining offices are proposed to be 39,000 square feet each. At buildout, the project is projected to generate 7,600 average weekday vehicle trips, according to the developer’s application to PLUS. The developer has also proposed rezoning the remaining 30 acres to MR, medium-density residential, in anticipation of a future 120-unit subdivision.

The developer was granted a conditional use by Sussex County Council for one of the lots, a 3-acre parcel at the corner of Kings Highway and Gills Neck, for a medical office building. That lot is now included in the proposed C-4 rezoning plan.

State agency officials will also review a proposal to rezone 30 acres between the proposed commercial parcels and the property line of The Moorings at Lewes from AR-1 to MR, medium-density residential, in anticipation of a future subdivision. At least 120 units, or four units per acre, are proposed for the parcel, which at buildout would generate 1,176 average weekday vehicle trips, according to the PLUS application.

PLUS reviews are scheduled from 9:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. in Room 133 of the Haslet Armory, 122 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Dover. The public may attend the meeting, but cannot comment.

Developers must first go through the PLUS process before they can file land-use applications. State agencies provide comments on applications followed by responses to the comments by the developer. County officials use PLUS reviews in their deliberation on applications.

The Zwaanendael Farm has been in operation since 1947 and was in a Delaware Agricultural Preservation District for a 10-year period until April 2013. It is also a Delaware Century Farm.

The Moorings at Lewes has expansion plans for a 5-acre parcel the company purchased from the landowner.

Subscribe to the Daily Newsletter