A proposed apartment complex off Route 24 behind Rehoboth Mall has received preliminary site-plan approval from Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission.
At its Jan. 9 meeting, the commission recommended approval of a conditional-use application filed by OA Rehoboth LLC for 224 apartments on a 19-acre parcel between Warrington Road and Route 1 zoned CR-1, commercial-residential.
Commissioner Kim Hoey Stevenson said high-density housing is appropriate for the CR-1 parcel – central water and sewer service will be available, the project fits in with the commercial character of the area, it is near Route 24 and Route 1, considered major highways, and is near commercial and employment centers.
Hoey Stevenson said the project would provide a local housing option for moderate-income residents who constitute a significant percentage of the workforce in the Lewes-Rehoboth area, but because of the high cost of housing and lack of rental units, are unable to live near where they work. “This leads to longer commuting time, increased transportation costs and increased traffic,” she said.
She said the Delaware State Housing Authority strongly supported the project as workforce housing.
Hoey Stevenson said no opposition was raised against the project, and nearby residents at Sterling Crossing supported the proposed apartment complex.
Included in the conditions, the developer must dedicate land and contribute to the cost of a Delaware Department of Transportation project to construct a connector road from Route 24 to Old Landing Road, which will be the main access to the site. Another access road is planned from the back parking area of the Rehoboth Mall.
In addition, DelDOT has plans to widen Route 24 from Route 1 to the area of Mulberry Knoll Road, with construction to begin in spring 2020.
The proposed amenities, including a pool, community building and dog park, must be completed before construction of the fourth apartment building, with no more than seven buildings permitted on the site.
If approved by Sussex County Council, a revised preliminary site plan must be submitted to the county planning and zoning office for approval followed by final site-plan review by the planning and zoning commission.
A 4.7-acre parcel section of the 19 acres would be set aside for future commercial development.
The parcel was the site of a proposed 141,700-foot-shopping center with 900 parking spaces generating more than 8,000 vehicle trips each weekday. That project never materialized. The proposed apartment complex would generate about 1,600 vehicle trips per day.
County council has scheduled a public hearing on the application at 1:30 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 28, in the county administration building, 2 The Circle, Georgetown.