Devil is in the details for First Baptist Church building plan

Lewes officials ask for more information, pastor seeks relief from conditions
November 17, 2023

The First Baptist Church of Lewes is asking for relief from some of the 10 conditions Lewes officials imposed on a site plan for a new building on Kings Highway.

Pastor Jon Reddick made his case to drop four of those conditions at mayor and city council’s Nov. 13 meeting, citing the financial burden the conditions would cause.

The city approved the site plan Jan. 9, but added conditions that council members said could improve the proposed structure located at the gateway to Lewes.

The focus of the Nov. 13 meeting turned to a revised architectural drawing of the north-facing side of the building. Council had asked that the design be changed to look less monolithic.

Reddick soon found out that the devil is in the details.

“I find the lack of details in this rendering to be troubling,” said Councilman Tim Ritzert. “I recognize it’s an improvement, but I don’t like the fact that we’re not working with details.”

Council pressed Reddick to provide a better description, and possibly photos and hands-on samples of paint colors, facade treatments and building materials.

“We as a council have one chance to get this right. This is a prominent location on the byway. It is a gateway building,” Ritzert said.

“We’re happy to comply with it. We’re ahead of time showing you an option we hope will comply with it,” Reddick said. 

Reddick also asked council to drop requirements to install a sidewalk on Baybreeze Drive and a sidewalk connection from Baybreeze to the church.

The church also wants the city to remove the condition that water table material be switched from stone to a wood-type material.

Finally, Reddick said he was unable to fulfill the condition that the church meet with the Lewes Byway Committee within 120 days of site-plan approval. He asked for a six-month extension to organize a meeting. Some council members found that length of time to be unreasonable.

The byway committee will work with the church to create a more robust landscaping plan and viewshed along Kings Highway.

Council did not make any decisions on the church’s requests.

The panel added the discussion to the agenda of its regularly scheduled workshop at 10 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 30.


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