Lewes library kiosk not helping residents

April 5, 2022

It will be recalled that in 2011, community opponents to the Five Points CVS on land theretofore dedicated for "community use" accepted the developer's proposed CVS rezoning in exchange for the donation of the 2.52-acre residual parcel to the Lewes library for its contemplated relocation and, if not, then to a Five Points community entity.

The Cape Gazette's May 27, 2011, article on the county council's May 24, 2011, action on the Five Points CVS rezoning included the reference that the library was "searching for a new location."

The article also attributed the following quote to developer Christian Hudson: "[The land donation] will go a long way toward making the library's services more accessible to a broad swath of people in the unincorporated areas between Lewes, Milton and Rehoboth Beach. We're also thrilled at the possibility of seeing this happen with a majority of private funds instead of taxpayer dollars."

The minutes of the county council proceeding on May 24, 2011, in confirming the community-developer agreement, referenced the library's "publicly announced need to relocate.”

Can there be any doubt that the agreement contemplated that the library would relocate its main facility to the Five Points site? And not build a mere book kiosk?

The 2012 deed which arose from the referenced community-developer agreement made the gift to the library conditional upon it constructing a "library facility” within a 10-year period, without mention of the library relocation context. In the interim, as we know, the library decided upon another site for its relocation.

What else changed in the interim?

According to the Cape Gazette's coverage of the recent court decision, Christian Hudson affirmed to the library that he wanted the land to go to the library notwithstanding that it had selected another site for its relocation (and the court relied upon this statement of the grantor's intent in construing the "library facility" terminology of the deed). 

But what of the community-developer agreement? And what of the developer's touted "making the library's services more accessible to a broad swath of people in the unincorporated areas between Lewes, Milton and Rehoboth Beach?" And what of the promised conditional gift to the Five Points entity? All of that got reduced to a library kiosk no larger than a standard birdhouse.

This does not encourage communities to negotiate with developers.

Julian Karpoff


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