Sussex P&Z approves plan for Black Oak

Newest subdivision along New Road will have 127 homes on 77 acres
October 3, 2023

At its Sept. 28 meeting, Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission approved the final and landscape plans for Black Oak, a cluster subdivision with 127 single-family home lots on a 77-acre parcel along New Road near Lewes.

The property is bordered on the north and northeast by Black Oak Gut and Prettyman Branch. Large buffers and tree preservation measures are planned for the area, which contains nearly 19 acres of wetlands, including 11 tidal acres and 7.92 nontidal acres.

Developer Glenwood Lewes LLC has modified the original site plan to keep more mature trees in the buffer area in the northern section of the parcel. That resulted in the removal of four building lots.

A tree survey was also conducted to identity every mature tree 5 feet in diameter at chest height on the site.

The average buffer along nontidal waters and wetlands will be 130 feet, and the average buffer along tidal areas will be 261 feet. In addition, a conservation easement will be in place to protect the buffers, with penalties included for violations of the easement. A tree preservation covenant prohibiting removal of trees will also be in place.

Subdivision plans

Plans include 127 lots averaging more than 9,000 square feet, a community recreation area with two pickleball courts, a pool, tot lot, clubhouse, outdoor fireplace and parking area. An existing kayak launch will be used for kayaks and paddleboards. All amenities must be completed on or before the issuance of the 65th building permit. Construction hours will be 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday.

The plan includes 42 acres of open space, including buffers, with a 30-foot vegetated or forested buffer around the perimeter of the property. Building-lot setbacks of at least 190 feet from all tidal wetlands and at least 55 feet from all nontidal wetlands are required.

Water service will be provided by Tidewater Utilities and sewer service by Sussex County with connection to a regional pump station.

Sidewalks will be on both sides of the community's streets with connection to a multimodal path along New Road.

The commission required that results of an archaeological survey of the area known as the Thomas Gray House must be supplied to the state, Lewes Historical Society, Ralph Prettyman and the Nanticoke Indian Museum. In addition, a state historical marker must be erected noting the Native American and colonial presences on the property.

New Road has become a popular address for new development.

Construction is underway on Tower Hill, with 292 lots on 134 acres, and Lewes Waterfront Preserve, with 89 townhomes on 34 acres, as well as 10 single-family home sites in front of the Black Oak property.

Road improvements required

The developer will be required to improve New Road along the property frontage and make a financial contribution as determined by Delaware Department of Transportation officials to the Minos Conaway-Route 1 interchange project and improvements at the Old Orchard Road-New Road intersection.

Fuqua said because of 10 building lots along New Road, which are not part of the Black Oak proposal, road frontage is limited. The developer has proposed to build a shared-use path along Black Oak property as well as the 10 lots.

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