Sussex council should vote no on Osprey Point proposal

September 15, 2023

On June 22, the Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission voted against the creation of a restaurant, bar and marina in the Osprey Point neighborhood on Arnell Creek. However, the matter is not finished. On Tuesday, Sept. 19, Sussex County Council will make the final determination. I urge county council to accept the commission's recommendation and deny the Osprey Point developer's plans for this ill-advised project

P&Z enumerated excellent reasons why the project should be denied.

First, the marina/restaurant/bar faced "substantial opposition from neighboring property owners citing concerns about the incompatibility of commercial uses with the surrounding residential areas, increased traffic, increased noise and other negative impacts...

The commission compared this ill-advised request for a restaurant/bar/marina to Paradise Grill, which attracts customers from far and wide and would clearly not be for the convenience and necessity of Osprey Point residents, as required by the zoning code. The commission went on to state that what is proposed does not fall under the type of commercial use that is permitted in a residential-planned community

Most importantly, this project poses a serious danger to the more than 12 communities along Old Landing Road from the bay all the way to Airport Road, less than a mile from Coastal Highway. Specifically, Old Landing Road has a long history of traffic congestion, accidents caused by alcohol-impaired drivers and close calls for those residents walking or biking along Old Landing Road. The proposed commercial bar/restaurant/marina would bring a new surge of traffic onto Old Landing Road, threatening the residents of these communities with more drunk drivers and more traffic on a two-lane, dead-end, winding road that the commission states appropriately "is not currently sited to handle the increased traffic, pedestrians, bikers, trash trucks and delivery vehicles that would be utilizing this destination restaurant if approved.

Furthermore, the proposed bar/restaurant/marina establishment would feature live music, amplified outdoors at the site. The facility would intrude on the peaceful enjoyment of the very Osprey Point residents that it professes to serve, and, like Paradise Grill, it would have noise impacts on residents immediately across Old Landing Road and on the well-established neighborhoods on the perimeter of Osprey Point

The bottom line is that this project violates the convenience and necessity provisions of the zoning code. It would exacerbate already-dangerous traffic issues along Old Landing Road by adding another steady infusion of alcohol-impaired drivers leaving Osprey Point and trying to navigate a winding road from Osprey Point all the way out to Coastal Highway. The 12-plus communities along Old Landing Road deserve better. I urge Sussex County Council to vote no on this ill-advised commercial project in the Osprey Point residential neighborhood

Bobby Mills
Rehoboth Beach
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