Lewes must annex Donovan-Smith
For years, residents of the Donovan-Smith manufactured home park off Donovans Road just outside Lewes have complained about the poor condition of the park. Confirming those complaints, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control issued a violation last July after on-site septic systems failed, resulting in untreated wastewater surfacing in the community. The owner was hit with another violation in September, citing similar issues.
An agreement has been reached for the Lewes BPW to provide central water and sewer service to the 120-plus homes in the park.
The project would be paid for with state funds, and construction could begin soon, but a late-breaking development has surfaced.
The owner of the park has said he likely will not move forward with the project unless the City of Lewes agrees to annex the property. Why? The Lewes BPW charges 50 percent more for water service to properties outside city limits. The owner, who would pay all residents’ water and sewer bills for 20 years, says the higher cost of service would be too expensive.
Lewes Mayor and City Council gave its consent for the BPW to do this project without annexation, so the project could move ahead, but it’s imperative that this community become part of Lewes.
Some council members have expressed concerns about a variety of issues, including potential future costs that could be too expensive for existing residents, but the health and safety of these residents should be a top priority.
It’s been suggested the owner is holding this project hostage to get a better rate, and maybe he is, but the community residents should not have to pay the price. Nobody should have to worry about navigating through untreated wastewater when there's a solution to the problem.
Sure, there are concerns about how this community will fit into Lewes and its code, but those issues can be worked out after Donovan-Smith is a part of Lewes.