Lewes council urged to oppose restaurant

December 2, 2022

The following letter was sent to Lewes Mayor and City Council with a copy provided to the Cape Gazette for publication. 

I am unable to attend your workshop this week but would like to express my opposition to the proposed restaurant near the Hawk Watch at Cape Henlopen State Park.

This proposal to build a standalone, large restaurant in this environmentally sensitive area is concerning on so many levels. First, there is no public need for a restaurant at Cape, given that within a mile of the park’s entrance there exist a variety of options for restaurants, some with water views.

In addition to the obvious fact that there is no need for a restaurant, given the proximity of downtown Lewes, there are many important environmental reasons why this is a terrible idea.

1. Cape’s Hawk Watch is a unique and environmentally sensitive spot, an important stop on the Atlantic Flyway. The restaurant would cause harm and disruption to this natural process

2. The proposed location for the restaurant is one of the few places where the general public (those without bird-watching expertise) can observe migrating birds as well as dolphins. It is a prime spot for environmental programs and instruction, activities that are very popular with visitors to the park 

3. Placing such a restaurant in this state park is a departure from the primary goals of Delaware State Parks – those of outdoor recreation, environmental education and environmental preservation

4. It is well established that the beach and dunes are dynamic, moving and shifting with the current. There is a significant probability that the building of a permanent and large structure in the dunes so close to the cape will cause erosion to the beach

5. It is in our city’s best interest to urge DNREC to preserve this unique natural treasure at the mouth of Delaware Bay. The natural beauty and outdoor recreation make it a major tourist attraction. The restaurant proposal opens the door for additional development that would forever change this unique natural attraction.

Given the rapid pace of development happening all over Sussex County, we need our state parks to remain places of environmental preservation along with outdoor recreation. Let’s continue to have our parks be places to enjoy and experience what remains of Delaware’s outdoor treasures. It is in the city’s best interest to preserve Cape Henlopen as an environmental treasure. Please add your voice to the large number of local residents and visitors who are urging DNREC to scratch this destructive idea.

Perrin Smith


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