It's unusual to have four approved subdivisions submit requests for amendments to their preliminary site-plan conditions of approval, let alone all surfacing on the same Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission meeting agenda.
But what really makes it even more unique is that all four included a request to delete a condition requiring downward-screened street lighting. It's a standard condition the commission has been placing on subdivisions for years.
Commissioners were told during their May 12 meeting that the type of lighting they were requiring is not available from Delaware Electric Cooperative, the utility company charged with installing street lighting in the four subdivisions.
“The co-op does not offer it, so it's impossible for the applicants to comply,” said Mackenzie Peet, the attorney representing applicant/developer Schell Brothers of all four subdivisions: Autumdale and Turnberry, along Hollyville Road near the Route 5 intersection between Lewes and Long Neck; Lightship Cove, along Fisher Road between Lewes and Harbeson; and Miralon, along Cool Spring Road near Lewes.
The commission voted to defer action on the requests until more information from Delaware Electric Cooperative officials could be obtained.
“This has been a fairly standard condition for a number of years,” said Chair Bob Wheatley. “We need to see something from the co-op to explain what's going on.”
The deletion of the proposed street lighting condition was not the only amendment requested by the developer. Three of the four included a proposed change in wording describing the amount of open space. Assistant county attorney Vince Robertson said even with the proposed amendments, the amount of open space has to remain substantially the same as required on the preliminary site plan.
Peet said as development occurs, the actual percentage of open space may have to be altered slightly.
Autumndale, 104 single-family lots on 74 acres. An amended condition for 50 acres of open space, more or less, subject to final engineering.
Turnberry, 196 single-family lots on 135.5 acres. An amended condition for 65 percent open space, more or less, subject to final engineering.
Lightship Cove, 97 single-family lots on 49 acres. An amended condition for 54 percent open space, more or less, subject to final engineering.
Miralon, 179 single-family lots on 72 acres. Amended conditions for 50 percent open space, more or less, a change in the number of building permits required for the completion of the subdivision's amenities, and a clarification of which stormwater ponds must have walking paths around them. The existing condition is amenities must be completed on or before the issuance of the 35th permit.
Commissioners agreed the required permit number is too low and should be in line with other subdivisions.
The commission will act on the requests at a future meeting.