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Sussex council approves workforce housing project

Developer targets affordable-housing market in Cape Region
January 8, 2019

One of the Cape Region's first workforce housing projects has been approved by Sussex County Council.

At its Dec. 11 meeting, council voted in favor of a rezoning filed by Boardwalk Development c/o Joseph Reed from AR-1, agricultural-residential, and GR, general-residential, to GR-RPC, general-residential, residential planned community, for a 60-acre parcel at the intersection of Angola and Angola Beach roads near Long Neck.

Fieldstone will include 201 single-family homes in the $245,000 to $280,000 price range.

According to conditions imposed by the planning and zoning commission, the subdivision must be marketed as workforce housing targeting families living and working in Sussex County earning 80 percent to 120 percent of the county's median income of $54,218. The commission had recommended approval of the application.

Outlining the conditions, Planning and Zoning Commissioner Doug Hudson said the developer must provide a buyer data sheet, settlement paperwork and any other information to an independent certified public accountant who must issue a report to the county showing that homeowners are not spending more than 30 percent of their gross household income on housing costs.

He said the report must be submitted to the county planning and zoning department each year to analyze the success of the project. In addition, he said, the developer must work with housing agencies in the county to market the community.

During testimony at two public hearings, attorney David Hutt said the community would have lot sizes of 7,500 square feet with multiple house plans and smaller amenities to cut the cost of HOA fees. Each street would have curbs and guttering with sidewalks on one side. The community will have central water and sewer.

Hutt said road improvements required by the Delaware Department of Transportation include an eastbound right-turn lane and 11-foot travel lanes and 5-foot shoulders on Angola Road to be coordinated with the Hailey's Glen subdivision. Improvements to Angola Beach Road will include 11-foot travel lanes and 5-foot shoulders.

Hudson said the subdivision is in character with other housing projects in the area. He said the project, with a density of 3.5 units per acre, will contain 24 percent open space, two miles of sidewalks, walking trails, nearly 2 acres of existing forest and nearly 4 acres of forested buffer. A 20-foot-wide forested buffer will be required around the perimeter of the parcel.

“This is basically infill development, with a density similar to what exists in the immediate area,” he said.

Hudson said to answer concerns expressed about stormwater management by nearby residents, the Sussex Conservation District will perform a thorough review of the project to address stormwater and drainage on the site, and how it will migrate from the site. “This should result in drainage improvement for the area from what currently occurs on the undeveloped farmland that does not have any stormwater system in place,” he said.

It was Hudson's final commission meeting; was sworn in as a county councilman Jan. 8.