Developer seeks homes instead of shopping center

DelDOT would require overpass for Overbrook Meadows
August 14, 2018

If the Overbrook Meadows subdivision application is approved, the developer would pay a portion of an estimated $14 million grade-separated interchange at the Route 1-Cave Neck Road intersection north of Lewes.

Overbrook Meadows LLC is seeking approval from Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission for a 135-single-family-lot cluster subdivision on 64 acres of a 114-acre site in an AR-1 environmentally sensitive developing district overlay zone.

The developer will file a future application for another subdivision as Phase 2 of the project on the remaining 50 acres.

Because the parcel is subject to the state's Corridor Capacity Preservation Program limiting access to Route 1, state transportation officials would allow a maximum of 200 trips per day from the parcel.

Jim Fuqua, the developer's attorney, called that threshold extremely low allowing for construction of 20 houses on the parcel.

The only option is to construct a grade-separated interchange, similar to those built and under construction on Route 1 in Kent County.

He said the developer would meet with Delaware Department of Transportation officials to work out terms of a private-public partnership. “All terms are to be negotiated,” he said. “The applicant will be responsible for all road improvements.”

Fuqua said work on design of the interchange is expected to be completed this year.

DelDOT has plans to improve the intersection but construction would not occur until at least 2024. A private-public partnership would potentially advance the timeline, said DelDOT planner Jennifer Miller.

Fuqua said it's a needed project that would not only benefit the development but the general public as well.

“If there has ever been an application with background, it's this one,” Fuqua said.

The original application in 2014 for the 114-acre parcel was for an 850,000-square-foot shopping center.

That application was rejected by Sussex County Council but appealed by the developer to the Court of Chancery. The court ruled council must have a rehearing on the application. After the April 10 rehearing, council denied the application again.

Fuqua said the average lot size in Overbrook Meadows would be 9,000 square feet. He said amenities would include a pool with a large deck area, clubhouse, pavilion and open space to be completed before the issuance of the 70th certificate of occupancy. Curbs, gutters and sidewalks on both sides of all streets would be provided.

A 20-foot landscaped buffer and a 50-foot agricultural buffer would shield the adjacent Vincent farm to the north from the proposed development.

Fuqua said compared to existing farmland, total nitrogen loads would be reduced 44 percent and total phosphorus loads would be reduced 47 percent. Impervious surface would be 28 percent, which meets regulations, Fuqua said.

Farmer opposes application

The only person who spoke in opposition to the application was neighboring farmer John Vincent. He said how he farms and what he can grow changes as development and proposed development occurs around his property. For one thing, he said, he can no long aerial spray his fields.

“I'm giving concession after concession and getting nothing back. Is that right?” he asked.

Vincent said his four chicken houses are less than 300 feet away from the border of the proposed subdivision. He said work to remove chickens occurs at night. “Some people are not going to get a comfortable night's sleep,” he said.

He said more development with additional water runoff and depositing solids would add to the degradation of the nearby Broadkill River and marshland between the property and Roosevelt Inlet.

Assistant county attorney Vince Robertson said agricultural protection regulations would require home buyers to be notified that farming operations occur in the area.

The commission voted to defer action to a future meeting.