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Sussex P&Z amends Azalea Woods phasing

Developer will not be tied to maximum 70 building permits a year
January 20, 2020

Story Location:
Shingle Point Road
Gravel Hill Road
Georgetown  Delaware  19958
United States

The developer of a large subdivision east of Georgetown will not have to adhere to a phasing condition previously imposed by Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission.

Among conditions of approval for Azalea Woods, with 610 single-family lots on 316 acres between Shingle Point Road and Gravel Hill Road, was no more than 70 building permits issued in any calendar year.

The developer requested that the condition be amended, which was upheld by the commission on a 4-1 vote at its Jan. 9 meeting. Now, the developer will have to comply with requirements in a Delaware Department of Transportation review of the developer's traffic-impact study.

In addition, Shingle Point Properties LLC and Natelli Communities requested the condition be changed from no more than 70 permits a year to no more than 150 permits per year to let the market dictate progress of the subdivision. The commission did act on the 150-permit restriction.

In a letter to the commission, Jim Fuqua, the developer's attorney, wrote that the condition did not have precedent in county land-use decisions. He said since 2016, the commission had approved 18 subdivisions with 3,677 single-family lots with no conditions putting limits on building permits per year.

Fuqua wrote that DelDOT's review letter ties building permits only to two of the seven road-improvement projects the developer is expected to fund. A right-turn lane at the Shingle Point Road/Route 9 intersection should be completed prior to the 101st building permit, and improvements, including 11-foot travel lanes and 5-foot shoulders, on Shingle Point Road from Briarwood Road to Route 9 should be completed before the 226th building permit.

The commission's motion, as proposed by assistant county attorney Vince Robertson, stated that home construction be allowed to proceed reasonably on pace with road improvements, and the developer shall comply with phasing set forth in the Nov. 21, 2019 DelDOT traffic-impact study review letter, as tied to road improvements.

Commissioner Kim Hoey Stevenson, who originally proposed the building permit limitation to help mitigate traffic impact on nearby roads, voted against the amendment.

Hoey Stevenson said the limited number of building permits per year was not an arbitrary number because build out of the subdivision is not expected for 10 years. “Two Route 9 intersections will be failing with nothing in DelDOT's six-year capital plan for improvements. This would give DelDOT time, and a way to let the developer build and not create a safety problem for the people of Sussex County,” she said.

The commission approved the subdivision Dec. 19, 2019.

The developer must submit a revised preliminary site plan for approval by the county planning and zoning office followed by submission of a final site plan for review and approval by the county planning and zoning commission.

Amenities will include a pool, clubhouse, tot lots, playground, gathering areas – including five neighborhood parks averaging 8,000 square feet – and four pickleball courts. All amenities must be constructed and open to residents before the issuance of the 250th building permit.