The second phase of a housing project on a 114-acre parcel north of Lewes has received preliminary approval from the Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission.
At its May 9 meeting, commissioners voted 5-0 in favor of an application for Overbrook Meadows West, an 82-single-family lot subdivision on 43.5 acres at the intersection of Route 1 and Cave Neck Road.
Overbrook Meadows, the first phase, received preliminary approval by the commission last September. The subdivision contains 135 single-family lots on 64 acres for a total of 217 lots in both phases.
Final approvals will be granted once final site plans have been reviewed by the commission.
Planning and zoning commissioners had previously deferred on a vote, requesting that Delaware Department of Transportation staff attend a meeting and provide an update on proposed road projects in the area. It was determined that no other testimony on the application could be heard because the commission had closed the public record.
“It's been a learning experience,” said Commissioner Kim Hoey Stevenson. “We need to make sure we get all the information before we close the record.”
Even so, she said, the record supported her motion to approve the application.
Among conditions is one requiring the developer to contribute to the cost of a grade-separated interchange at the Cave Neck Road-Route 1 intersection. In addition, the developer and DelDOT shall coordinate phasing of construction of the development in conjunction with construction of the interchange.
Because the parcel falls within the state's Route 1 Corridor Capacity Preservation Program, access to Route 1 is restricted without DelDOT-mandated improvements.
DelDOT officials are negotiating with developer Overbrook Real Estate Partners Inc. to reach an agreement on the amount of the contribution, which could include funding and land.
The interchange project is one of three planned along Route 1, including the Route 16 and Minos Conaway intersections. DelDOT officials said the developer's contribution could speed up the start of construction, which is slated to begin in fiscal year 2024 in DelDOT's capital plan.
To allow housing construction to start, under a proposed DelDOT plan, a temporary road with access to Route 1 could be provided from the northern section of the parcel. The number of houses to be constructed prior to construction of the interchange is also being negotiated. No mention of a proposed 20 units as proposed by DelDOT was mentioned by the commission.
Motorists going south on Route 1 from the parcel would first head north on Route 1 and then make a U-turn onto the southbound lanes.
The original application for the parcel four years ago was a rezoning for an 850,000-square-foot shopping center.