Preservation allies to hold public session on Cool Spring issues Feb. 29

February 21, 2024

Sussex Preservation Coalition will host a special public session at 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 29, at the Lewes Public Library to discuss issues raised by the Cool Spring Crossing development proposal.

The original Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission hearing on the proposal, set for Wednesday, March 6, has been postponed, but Cool Spring is not over.

The Feb. 29 meeting is free and open to the public. Coalition officials will provide attendees with facts, tools and tips to help them understand the issues, and learn about the process involved and how to get engaged. Due to limited seating, the public is encouraged to register in advance by emailing Zoom viewing will also be available Feb. 29; find the link at

Cool Spring Crossing is a 637-acre, multiuse development planned for Route 9 and Cool Spring Road near Milton. In addition to 1,900 dwellings, it includes 450,000 square feet of commercial and office space. The scope and location of the project plus the impact it would have on traffic, healthcare, education and the environment have drawn significant opposition.

Jane Gruenebaum, SPC president, said the Cool Spring Crossing developers’ own estimates suggest the potential to add 45,000 vehicle trips per day on Route 9, which already is at capacity with 15,000 vehicle trips per day. The project may add 566 students to the Cape Henlopen School District, which already is struggling with rapid growth.

“Mixed-use communities of this sort can be helpful in containing sprawl and providing amenities. But this is not the time or place for such a development. Cool Spring Crossing could more than triple the traffic on Route 9, add more students to the crowded classrooms and make healthcare access even more difficult,” said Gruenebaum. “It also removes 104 acres of forest, adding further to the rampant environmental destruction in Sussex County.”

The proposed mega-development is in a zone designated by both the state and the county as a low-density area. Delaware state agencies have rejected the Cool Spring Crossing plan four times. Sussex County can overrule the state, but it puts state funding at risk.

The focus of the SPC meeting is to help attendees learn about the Cool Spring Crossing development, understand the state and county roles in approving such developments, and see how they can get involved.

SPC is a coalition of local environmental, civic and religious groups in Sussex County dedicated to preserving and protecting local ecosystems. Its mission is to increase the impact of groups and individuals by working together to educate, organize, advocate and act.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated with revised information sent after the March 6 Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission hearing was postponed.

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