Lewes residents oppose restaurant in Cape state park

September 23, 2022

Editor’s note: The Cape Gazette first reported the possibility of a restaurant at Cape Henlopen State Park Feb. 11, 2022. Award of the contract to LaVida Hospitality was reported June 24, 2022. 

Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has approved the solicitation of a request for proposal from LaVida Hospitality to potentially construct a 6,000-square-foot oceanfront restaurant in Cape Henlopen State Park. Circumventing state and local authorities from the approval process, the RFP supposedly can proceed given that all construction costs will be borne by LaVida. 

We can all agree Cape Henlopen State Park is a valued treasure. We appreciate and honor this ecologically important and beautiful area, and, rather than focus on commercial development, let’s focus more on education and appreciation of the park’s natural wonders, of its beach heather, horseshoe crabs, nighthawks, ospreys, bald eagles and all the intricate life they support. Let’s not compromise this ecological treasure by constructing a restaurant between the park’s Hawk Watch and the McBride Bathhouse, while ignoring the environmental impact of trash, odor, light pollution, increased traffic and noise from live music.

We have many questions. Have meaningful environmental impact studies been done? Will the restaurant be open after dusk? The park now closes at dusk. Will there be outdoor lights at night that will disturb wildlife? Are there plans to expand the restaurant in the future? Will the structure be built to high-level LEED certification standards? Will alcohol be served? 

In recent times, we’ve witnessed poorly considered decisions that adversely affect the beauty and integrity of Lewes and its surrounding areas. We can do better. Let’s be sure our decisions consider the life, the ecological integrity and the natural beauty of the park. Together, let’s support all efforts to protect and appreciate the remarkable treasure we know and love – Cape Henlopen State Park. We join with local conservation groups and other concerned Delaware residents to oppose this proposed oceanfront restaurant construction in Cape Henlopen State Park.  

Paul and Betty Kratt
Eric and Gail Van Gilder
Barry and Elaine Simmerman
Peter K. McLean, Ph.D.
Christine Besche
Dr. Charles Young


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