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Sussex board approves assisted-living facility

Old Orchard Road project one part of development plan for 25-acre parcel
December 11, 2018

The developer of a 25-acre site along Old Orchard Road near Lewes has received approval for an assisted-living, skilled-nursing facility on 7.5 acres of the parcel.

At its Dec. 10 meeting, the Sussex County Board of Adjustment voted unanimously to approve a special-use exception application filed by Old Orchard Ventures LLC c/o Barry Baker.

Using an upgraded Oyster Cove Road for access, Tranquility at Breakwater will 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 will be about 1,000 feet from Old Orchard Road and have 104 beds. It will create about 75 jobs.

During testimony, Larry Fifer, the developer's attorney, said the facility will offer outdoor amenities such as a park, path and recreational areas. A house on the property, used decades ago by Lewes fishermen to dry menhaden fish nets, will remain.

The 25-acre parcel contains three zoning classifications – MR, medium-density residential, AR-1, agricultural-residential, and commercial. Other plans for the parcel include medical offices and independent-living condominiums.

The county planning and zoning commission has recommended denial of an AR-1 to C-2 medium commercial rezoning application for six acres of the parcel separate from the assisted-living facility.