A developer has plans for another subdivision along Robinsonville Road near Lewes. If approved, it would be the third new project along the road.
Developer Jack Haese of Bethesda, Md., has plans for Chase Oaks, a 253-single-family-lot cluster subdivision on 145 acres of AR-1, agricultural-residential zoned land.
Plans were presented during the July 11 Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission meeting. The proposed subdivision would be located along Robinsonville Road and both sides of Webb's Landing Road.
Jim Fuqua, the developer's attorney, said 231 lots are proposed for the east side of Robinsonville Road and 22 lots would be across the road on the west side of Robinsonville Road.
He said the community would border Tidewater Landing – 213 single-family lots on 163 acres – already under construction, and be near the approved Tanager Woods subdivision with 168 single- family lots on 103 acres. “A mix of farming and single-family development is the trend on Robinsonville Road,” Fuqua said.
Fuqua said lots would range from the minimum allowed in cluster subdivisions of 7,500 square feet to 16,900 square feet, with an average just over 8,800 square feet. Tree-lined streets would have curbs and gutters with sidewalks on both sides. Amenities would include a pool, clubhouse, multi-use sports court with gazebos and gathering areas spread throughout the proposed development.
Allowable density in cluster subdivisions is 2.17 units per acre; Chase Oaks would have a density of 1.74 units per acre, the attorney said.
Concern over amenity access
Planning and zoning commissioners questioned access for residents in the 22-lot section of the proposed subdivision who would have to cross Webb's Landing Road for most amenities, including the pool and clubhouse.
Commissioner Kim Hoey Stevenson said the commission does not look favorably on developments split by roads where residents are required to drive to amenities.
Commissioners asked Delaware Department of Transportation representative Bill Brockenbrough whether a crosswalk or flashing lights could be in place on Webb's Landing Road to provide pedestrian or bicycle access to the amenities.
Brockenbrough said it's DelDOT policy not to allow those types of crosswalks or flashing lights. “People need to realize they are crossing at their own risk,” he said.
“I'm worried about residents crossing the street to get to the pool,” said Commissioner Bruce Mears.
“I can't get my head around no flashing lights,” said Commissioner Holly Wingate.
“That answer surprised me,” said assistant county attorney Vince Robertson.
“It bears some additional consideration,” said Commission Chairman Bob Wheatley.
Road work would be required
Access to the larger parcel would be from Webb's Landing Road while access to the smaller parcel would be from Robinsonville Road.
Following preliminary review of the developer's traffic impact study, DelDOT would require several road improvements if the application is approved. Those include 11-foot travel lanes and 5-foot shoulders and shared-use paths on both roads.
Off-site improvements would include a traffic signal agreement with DelDOT for design and construction of possible signals at the Robinsonville Road and Kendale Road, and Beaver Dam Road and Kendale Road intersections. Fuqua said state transportation officials would determine when the signals would be constructed.
Fuqua said the developer would be responsible to build the intersection at the access point for the project along Webb's Landing Road by constructing left- and right-turn lanes and a through lane. He said the developer would be required to make a financial contribution to the project to realign Sloan Road and Pinewater Road at the Route 24 intersection and also make a financial contribution to two projects along Route 24 at the Camp Arrowhead Road and Robinsonville Road and Angola Road intersections. Fuqua said the developer's costs would be determined by DelDOT officials.
Buffers proposed for project
The proposed plan calls for a 20-foot buffer around the perimeter of the subdivision, a 50-foot buffer between lot lines and agricultural lands, and a minimum 50-foot buffer placed between lot lines and a stream in the northern section of the parcel. Wetland areas would have a minimum 35-foot buffer, with 60 feet or more in most areas, Fuqua said.
Cemetery section set aside
Fuqua said a wooded one-quarter-acre section of the parcel has been delineated as the old Vessel family cemetery. He said 17 graves have been identified from the Vessel and Webb families. He said existing trees would remain, the grounds would be cleared of underbrush, as many headstones as possible would be reset and a fence would be placed around the perimeter with a gate and sign. The area would be surrounded by open space and the cemetery would have public access.
Chicken houses near parcel
Roland Hill, a farmer who owns chicken houses near the property, said potential buyers should be made aware of his operation. “It not always fully disclosed,” he said. “Realtors need to be brought up to speed on that.”
“If we could, we'd make them put that in their marketing brochures, but we can't. But we can put it everywhere else,” Wheatley said.
All deeds are recorded with information relating to farm-related activities bordering the property.
John Donahue, who lives nearby in Webb's Landing, said the proposed development would change the character of the area and bring a lot more traffic. He asked whether a dead-end sign could be placed at the entrance to his development to keep out nonresidential traffic.
Brockenbrough said there are state standards for no-outlet signs, and he wasn't sure why one wasn't posted at Webb's Landing.
Following the public hearing, the commission voted to leave the record open for receipt of the final review of the developer's traffic-impact study followed by 10 days to allow for written public comment.