Residents appeal Old Orchard assisted-living approval

Superior Court judge to rule on possible amendment to filing
September 2, 2019

Story Location:
Old Orchard Road
Lewes, DE 19958
United States

Three Lewes-area residents have appealed a decision by Sussex County Board of Adjustment to deny a rehearing of a special-use application approved for a 104-bed assisted-living, skilled-nursing facility along Old Orchard Road, Lewes.

In addition, the petitioners, Janice Allmaras, Joseph Rolla and Robert Viscount, have requested the court approve an amendment to add applicant Old Orchard Ventures LLC and landowner Karen Hefke to the filing.

According to the lawsuit filed in Superior Court, while the two were not named in the original appeal, they were sent certified copies that the appeal had been filed.

“The two parties sought to be added by the amendment knew or should have known of this appeal. Initially, when the board rendered its grant of the special-use application on Feb. 5, 2019, a notice of that decision was sent to the applicant and Hefke and included an express statement that there was the potential for an appeal,” according to court records.

Based on prior court rulings, the appellants seek to have their appeal move forward even though they originally failed to name all parties.

The motion to amend will heard by the court at 11 a.m., Friday, Sept. 6.

On Feb. 11, the petitioners filed a request for a rehearing and on Feb. 21, the applicant filed an opposition to the request. On April 1, the board of adjustment denied the rehearing. Then on April 26, the petitioners filed a second request for a rehearing, which was also denied by the board.

The petitioners filed an appeal in Superior Court June 24.

Sussex County legal staff filed a motion to dismiss, alleging the petitioners failed to name all the necessary parties, followed by a motion to dismiss filed by the petitioners.

“The appellants request that the court hear this motion to amend prior to its consideration of the board's motion to dismiss as this motion is critical to the substance of the motion to dismiss,” according to the lawsuit.

At its Dec. 10, 2018 meeting, the board voted unanimously to approve the special-use exception application filed by Old Orchard Ventures.

Using an upgraded Oyster Cove Road for access, the facility, Tranquility at Breakwater, would consist of a 75,000-square-foot, 3-story building with access to the Lewes-to-Georgetown Trail bordering the parcel. As proposed, the facility on a 7.5-acre parcel would be about 1,000 feet from Old Orchard Road.






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