Ritter application gets nod from Sussex P&Z

Sussex County Council hearing on longtime family business set for Jan. 24
December 23, 2022

Story Location:
Plantation Road
Robinsonville Road
Lewes, DE 19958
United States

At its Dec. 15 meeting, Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission voted 4-0 to recommend approval of a conditional-use application filed by Howard L. Ritter & Sons to continue sales of stone, mulch, soil and other related outdoor products at its existing 51-acre borrow pit off Plantation Road near the Robinsonville Road intersection outside Lewes.

Because of nearby residents' concerns, the application has been amended to remove concrete crushing and recycling, stump and tree grinding, and shredding and dyeing for mulch.

Most of the complaints have come from residents from the new subdivision Maritima, which shares a border with Ritter Lake Drive, the access road to the parcel.

Sussex County Council has scheduled a hearing on the application for 1:30 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 24.

Making the motion for approval, Commissioner Kim Hoey Stevenson said although residents complained about the borrow pit, it's not part of the application as a nonconforming use of the property. She added that people moving into the area should have some expectations of noise and dust living close to a borrow pit.

The commission approved the following conditions:

• Hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturdays

• No deliveries of materials can be made before 8 a.m.

• All materials must be stored in bins with sufficient management of stormwater runoff.

Commissioner Keller Hopkins said he hoped the Ritters reconsider the concrete-recycling operation because of a need in the area. The public record contains dozens of letters and emails in support of the business and concrete crushing.

“Can they reconsider that? Is it an option?” he asked.

Assistant county attorney Vince Robertson answered yes.

Commission Chair Bob Wheatley said they could refile at any time. However, he added, if they did refile, it might take a year for the application to reach the public hearing stage because of the current backlog in land-use applications.

“Concrete crushing moved into Lewes, putting more trucks in town,” Hopkins said.

The company has been in business at the site since the mid-1970s. The borrow pit was in operation prior to county zoning.


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