A conditional use for a convenience store along Route 24 has cleared its first hurdle with a positive recommendation from Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission.
At their Aug. 22 meeting, commissioners voted 5-0 in favor of a application filed by KH Sussex LLC for a 7-Eleven convenience store on a 3.5-acre parcel on the south side of the Route 24/ Angola Road intersection between Lewes and Long Neck.
The 3,500-square-foot, 24-hour 7-Eleven store would have gas pumps and 34 parking spaces. A conditional use is required because the project is proposed on a parcel zoned AR-1, agricultural-residential, where commercial enterprises are not permitted.
Sussex County Council will have a public hearing on the application at 1:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 17, in the county administration building, 2 The Circle, Georgetown. Council has the final say on conditional-use applications.
It was the second time around for the project. The recent application was filed after county council denied a rezoning application on Dec. 14, 2018, to C-3, heavy commercial, for the same parcel.
Among proposed conditions on the application is a requirement that construction of the proposed store match the time frame of road work at the intersection proposed by the Delaware Department of Transportation. “The use shall not be open to the public until intersection improvements have been substantially completed,” said Commissioner Bruce Mears.
DelDOT officials have plans to improve the Route 24-Angola Road-Robinsonville Road intersection by widening westbound Angola Road and eastbound Robinsonville Road with separate left- and right-turn and through lanes. In addition, northbound and southbound Route 24 will be widened with separate left-turn and right-turn lanes. If the application is approved, the developer would be required to contribute yet-to-be determined funding to the project based on traffic impact.
The project is scheduled to begin in spring 2021 and be completed at the end of fiscal year 2022.
The main entrance to the parcel would be off Angola Road with a right-in, right-out entrance along Route 24.
Mears said significant intersection improvements would improve traffic to make the convenience store an appropriate use of the site. He said the area has seen significant residential development, and a convenience store at that location would provide local residents an option for retail and fuel without traveling to Route 1 and Long Neck.
“Most of the site is commercial services now, and this is a reasonable extension of that existing conditional use,” he said.
At planning and zoning commission's Aug. 8 public hearing, residents testified that the growth the commissioner was referencing was a strong reason to deny the application.
If approved by county council, the final site plan would be subject to review by the planning and zoning commission.
On Dec. 14, 2018, Sussex County Council denied a rezoning from AR-1, agricultural-residential, to C-3, heavy commercial, for the 3.5-acre parcel; the Sussex County Planning and Zoning commission had recommended approval.