Royal Farms proposed near Five Points

Sussex P&Z rejects site plan; developer expected to rework parking
December 7, 2018

Plans for a new Royal Farms convenience store at Five Points have been submitted to Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission.

During the commission's Nov. 29 meeting, the preliminary site plan for Royal Farms Store No. 255 were denied because of parking concerns on the parcel, which lies at the intersection of Route 1 and Route 9. The new Royal Farms would be built between Bests’ Ace Hardware and M&T Bank near Lewes.

Commissioner Kim Hoey Stevenson said the plan should be amended to remove about 15 parking spaces in the front setback along Route 1. Developer Two Farms Inc. will have to resubmit a preliminary site plan for the 5-acre parcel to be reviewed by the commission at a later date. All state agency approvals have been submitted to the county.

Assistant county attorney Vince Robertson said the commission has the ability to review site plans' internal and external traffic flows.

“That's my concern,” said Hoey Stevenson. “I'd like to see the building moved over and all parking on the north removed for better traffic flow,” she said.

Sussex County Planning and Zoning Director Janelle Cornwell said Bests' Ace would lose some outdoor storage to make way for the 5,100-square-foot convenience store with up to eight gas pumps and 117 parking spaces. It would have access from the Plantation Road-Route 9 intersection and Route 1 southbound lanes.

The land is owned by Thomas Best & Sons and Bests' Store Inc.

If the site plan is approved, it will be the third Royal Farms in the Route 1 corridor. Other stores are at the Route 24 intersection and near the entrance to Rehoboth Beach.

Delaware Department of Transportation officials are conducting a Five Points Transportation Study to ease traffic congestion in the area, taking into account recommendations from a working group and the public. The 5-acre parcel is considered a key property for future road improvements to ease traffic issues at the Five Points intersection. One of the suggestions proffered by the working group was to build a road through the parcel connecting Route 1 and Route 9.

“For the proposed Royal Farms, we have met with the developer and shared our current plans that include Plantation Road realignment, however, we are not at the stage yet where we have made any decisions about acquiring this specific property,” said Charles McLeod, director of DelDOT community relations.

He said DelDOT regulations require developers to accommodate known capital projects. In addition, he said, DelDOT can acquire land to preserve properties for future projects.