Longtime Lewes resident Jerome Virden is seeking to divide his Kings Highway property into five lots to be passed on to his family.
The application was reviewed by Lewes Planning Commission Jan. 20, and a public hearing on the matter was set for 5 p.m., Wednesday, March 17.
The 1.45-acre parcel is nestled between Kings Highway and Freeman Highway. A 2015 land swap with the City of Lewes prior to the construction of the Lewes Public Library resulted in his property having two separate zonings – R-2, low-density residential along Kings Highway, and R-4, medium-density residential on the back end of the parcel.
In 2017, Virden sought to have the entire parcel zoned R-4, but mayor and city council voted 3-2 to deny the request. Those who voted against said Virden’s property is not adjacent to another R-4 parcel, even though the adjacent library property was R-4 prior to being rezoned by mayor and city council.
Virden sued the city as a result, and the two sides have been in litigation ever since. City Solicitor Glenn Mandalas said the litigation would end if Virden’s current proposed subdivision is ultimately approved.
Virden is moving ahead with split zoning in his proposed subdivision. Vince Robertson, Virden’s attorney, said each of the five lots meets the minimum requirements for the particular zone in which it sits. Four of the five lots exceed 10,000 square feet. The fifth sits entirely in the R-2 zone and is proposed at 5,491 square feet.
A new road with an entrance off Kings Highway would bisect the property, allowing for homes to be built on either side.
Because the subdivision is so small, the applicant is seeking numerous waivers, such as no sidewalks, no curbs, no streetlights and reduction of required width for both the right of way and paved roadway.
The plan includes 6,500 square feet of open space proposed along the border of the library property. Virden also plans to preserve an existing gingko tree on the property.
Detailed plans can be found at ci.lewes.de.us/271/Development-Reviews.