Sussex P&Z starts on road to interconnectivity

Commission requests access road in Vineyards project
October 18, 2017

Story Location:
Lewes-Georgetown Highway
Lewes  Delaware
United States

Sussex County planning and zoning commissioners have drawn a line in the sand. Developers must start to plan connectivity to adjacent parcels as they plan projects.

In its first action based on that requirement, commissioners approved a preliminary site plan for Phase 3 of The Vineyards at Nassau Valley project, but with a twist.

They want developer Fernmoor Homes of Jackson, N.J., to include a stub street to connect to an adjacent parcel to provide possible interconnectivity in case of future development.

“It's not a throughway, just a stub street,” said Commissioner Kim Hoey Stevenson. “It looks like there are several options without touching or moving any buildings. We have to look out for the future.”

The phase includes 108 apartments, 56 condominiums, 25 single-family lots and amenities in the community along Route 9 west of Lewes.

Zac Crouch, engineer for the developer, said he didn't see how an access street could be worked into the plans.

“It's pretty easy. Planning and zoning says put a stub street in,” said Vince Robertson, the county's assistant attorney.

“If planning and zoning wants it, we'll see how it works out,” Crouch said.

During discussions on the 2018 comprehensive land-use plan, commissioners have debated the merits of interconnectivity.

“The question comes down to do we take a stand on this one or do we think we have fired a shot sufficiently loud enough to the engineering community that we expect to see connectivity moving forward,” said Commissioner Bob Wheatley.

“We've got to start somewhere,” said Commission President Marty Ross. “It's an issue we've wrestled with the past several months as we've discussed mobility and emergency access issues. I'm not upset that we are starting tonight.”

The commission voted 5-0 to approve the preliminary site plan with the stipulation that an access road be included on the final site plan, which will be presented to commissioners for approval.

Phase 2 is underway with 33 single-family lots and 10 residential buildings. Two residential-commercial and two apartment buildings, and a clubhouse and pool have been constructed. More apartments, single-family homes and condominiums are planned in future phases. A section of land east of the current development has been set aside for future retail development.