Sussex County officials have given a July 1 deadline for a property owner to convert apartments back to single-family homes. But Victor Rico, owner of the properties, says the deadline is not necessary because he can comply with county regulations and still provide housing to all 11 tenants.
At its Feb. 18 meeting, Sussex County Council denied rezoning and conditional-use applications that would have allowed the apartments to remain at 20797 Sunset Lane off Route 24 west of Love Creek bridge. The deadline was imposed to allow any displaced tenants a chance to find new housing. “No one is required to leave,” Rico said.
Victor Rico said he will leave just one stove in each unit, which will in effect, make the units single-family home dwellings. He also plans to connect to the county’s central sewer system.
Mary and Victor Rico had applied for a rezoning from AR-1, agricultural-residential, to MR, medium-density residential, and a conditional use for multifamily housing. Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission recommended denial of the applications.
Over the past two years, Victor Rico purchased the two houses on Sunset Lane at auction and renovated them.
Under county regulations, four unrelated people are allowed to live in a single-family residence. Rico said the duplex has two unrelated residents and the triplex has three unrelated residents.
Rico was cited with a violation by county staff for not obtaining a building permit. He contends he was continuing renovations that were already underway.