Sussex County Council is expected to vote Tuesday, Dec. 11, on three controversial applications for development at a key intersection on Route 1 north of Lewes.
Nassau DE Acquisition Co. LLC has filed applications to rezone 12.5 acres from AR-1, agricultural-residential, to MR, medium-density residential, and a conditional-use application for 150 apartments and to rezone nearly 3 acres from AR-1 to C-2 commercial for a 4,700-square-foot office complex at the intersection of northbound Route 1 and Old Mill Road just off Nassau bridge.
The complex of five, three-story apartments would have garages and storage units. Density of the proposed project would be nearly 10 units per acre. Amenities would include a pool, clubhouse, walking path and sports courts.
During council's Nov. 27 hearing, John Tracey, the developer's attorney, said the project would help meet the growing demand for rental housing in the county, especially in eastern Sussex.
He said the office complex would provide space for a developer's leasing operation for other properties including the Coastal Tide – formerly Arbors at Cottagedale – apartment complex under construction off Plantation Road near Lewes.
The planning and zoning commission recommended approval of applications with one caveat. The commission recommended that the number of apartment units be limited to 90 until completion of planned Minos Conaway and Route 1 road improvements, including a Route 1 service road along the frontage of the property. That project is expected to be completed in 2025.
Tracey said the opponents’ claim is not warranted that the commission should use the same reasons they used to deny an application on the parcel 14 years ago. “It's a different time and different place now,” he said. “There is a shift in development goals and plans.”
During testimony at the Nov. 27 hearing, resident Lisa Bartels outlined a long list of environmental concerns shared by many neighbors in five subdivisions off Old Mill Road, citing 12 acres of woods and farmland that would be lost to impervious surface, raising stormwater runoff issues.
She said residents are also worried about their water wells, noise from additional car traffic and parking lot lighting.
“We've seen one house under construction, but this is a whole other scale,” she said, adding construction noise and dust would last for years.
Sandpiper Drive resident George Dellinger urged council to honor the lifestyle and housing density that exists in the communities east of the site. “All you see in our neighborhoods is trees and single-family homes. We urge the developer to resubmit as an AR-1 community and join us as a neighbor,” he said.