Northstar community plans reviewed by state agencies

Proposed project west of Lewes includes 758 residential units and 94,000 square feet of commercial
December 22, 2023

State agencies commented on plans for the proposed 433-acre Northstar mixed-use community along Route 9 and the north and south sides of Beaver Dam Road one mile west of Five Points during its Dec. 20 Office of State Planning Coordination Preliminary Land Use Service meeting.

The plan includes 758 single-family home lots, 94 multifamily units and 96,000 square feet of commercial space. The developer will have to file rezoning applications from AR-1, agricultural-residential, to C-3, heavy commercial, and from AR-1 to MR, medium-density residential, and file a conditional-use application for multifamily housing.

All commercial construction would be on 12.7 acres along Route 9.

Included in the plan are 94 affordable apartment units on 4.65 acres that will be under the Delaware State Housing Authority low-income tax credit program.

Ring Lardner, an engineer with Davis, Bowen and Friedel, representing the developer, said the community is a master-planned, in-fill project.

The parcel is designated as coastal area in the county's future land-use map where high-density development is permitted.

Access to property

The property borders Route 9 across from the Vineyards, and runs along portions of Beaver Dam Road in several areas. One of the proposed major road improvements includes the first phase of the Delaware Department of Transportation’s Mulberry Knoll to Route 9 connection road. The plan includes a section of that road from Beaver Dam Road to Route 9 at the Vineyards intersection, which will be dedicated to DelDOT for public use.

The plan also includes a proposed connection from the project on the south side of Beaver Dam Road to Lewes Crossing via Oakney Street for vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

Northstar is in the Henlopen Transportation Improvement District and would be required to contribute funds per unit and per commercial square footage to a fund for road improvements in the district, besides other road improvements required for Northstar.

At buildout, the average daily traffic would be 13,359 trips.

Access to the parcel would be from Route 9 and Beaver Dam Road across from the Coastal Club community.

Lardner said the preliminary plan includes three miles of shared-use pathways to provide linkages to existing subdivisions and two-and-a-half miles of pathways within the proposed community.

The project includes several park areas and 166.5 acres of open space, or 44% of the total acreage.

Environmental comments

Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control representative Beth Krumine said the agency's review found there are tax ditches on the property that may require improvements. She said the developer should avoid building homes in a portion of the 100-year floodplain on the western edge of the property.

Krumine said that 25% of the parcel is within an excellent water recharge area that will require the developer to comply with Sussex County regulations.

She recommended that a forest assessment be completed before the removal of 5 acres of the 28 acres of woodlands, and that a 100-foot vegetated buffer be installed along 19.5 acres of nontidal wetlands.

In addition, she said there are two state rare or threatened species located very close to the property, the tiger salamander and the barking tree frog, that probably use the forest of the Northstar parcel.

Other recommendations include the relocation of two existing bus stops closer to the Route 9-Old Vine Boulevard location, and that a phase one archaeological study be completed before any ground disturbance.

All plans are preliminary and subject to change prior to scheduling of public hearings before the Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission and Sussex County Council. The state planning office cannot make land-use decisions, but it can provide recommendations.


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