Lewes mulls transportation improvement district

Council forms committee to work with county
January 2, 2018

Lewes officials are mulling over a Department of Transportation proposal to establish the Lewes Transportation Improvement District. 

TIDs are a way to coordinate land-use decisions with transportation improvements. By predetermining the use of every piece of property within the district, DelDOT can develop a plan for future improvements so growth does not outpace infrastructure. 

DelDOT Secretary Jennifer Cohan attended a council meeting in April to pitch the idea. DelDOT Principal Planner Sarah Coakley followed up in November with revised boundaries that include property in the county and city jurisdictions with a western boundary up to, but not including, Route 1.

An earlier iteration of the district showed county land east of Route 1 as part of the proposed Henlopen Transportation Improvement District, which is under consideration by county officials. The revised boundaries shrunk the Henlopen TID to lands west of Route 1. 

In order for the new Lewes TID to work, Deputy Mayor Fred Beaufait said the city and county are going to have to work together. 

“I think it’s absolutely critical we have a good, solid working relationship,” he said, noting most of the land that’s going to be developed is in the county.” 

Council voted to form a committee to work with county officials to analyze DelDOT’s proposal. Then, the county and city can jointly address those questions and concerns to DelDOT. The committee will comprise Mayor Ted Becker, Councilman Rob Morgan, City Manager Ann Marie Townshend and City Planner Tom West. The county representatives have not been named. 

“I want to make sure we’re marching together hand in hand, and we know where we’re going,” Beaufait said. “It’s so important that we be together on this.”

County Councilman I.G. Burton, who represents Lewes, said he is having a hard time wrapping his head around the proposed transportation district. He said working with the city to iron out the details is a good idea. 

“The sooner we get it figured out and get going, it would be better for all of us … if it’s a good idea,” he said.