The owners of Tanger Outlets are seeking a zoning change behind Seaside Outlets near Route 1 on Holland Glade Road.
Coroc/Rehoboth III LLC, a subsidiary of Tanger Factory Outlets Inc., has filed to rezone the 10-acre parcel near Rehoboth Beach from AR-1, agricultural-residential, to C-3, heavy commercial district.
Jim Fuqua, the applicant's attorney, said at this time retail development is not planned for the parcel. Instead, he said, development could include a hotel and health club or fitness center. The proposed project would be across the road from Phase 2 of the Coastal Station project, which includes a mix of retail and residential.
Access to the property would be from Holland Glade Road and Seaside Outlet Drive, the main entrance to the existing 25-acre outlet center. Fuqua said as development along Holland Glade Road progresses, state transportation officials have plans to install a traffic signal at the intersection with Route 1.
Fuqua said existing access to the Junction & Breakwater Trail, linking Rehoboth Beach and Lewes, would be maintained.
At the Feb. 19 public hearing, Sussex County Council deferred a vote pending a recommendation from Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission.
Although no one spoke in opposition to the application at the commission hearing, there was testimony offered against the application at council's hearing.
Linda Kauffman, representing the governing board of Epworth United Methodist Church on Holland Glade Road, said traffic is already a problem, and the proposed rezoning and any new construction would add to the impact. “More and more development is creating more challenges to get from Point A to Point B, and C-3 zoning just adds to that,” she said.
She said use of the parcel should match lands that border it, including farmland and state-owned protected land.
Kauffman said the church moved from downtown Rehoboth Beach to Holland Glade Road to escape congestion and parking issues, but development in the area is creating the same conditions. She said the church parking lot is used for Junction and Breakwater Trail parking and overflow parking from nearby businesses.
“At some point you have to put a stop to this and leave the land the way it is. Stop changing the zoning,” she told council. She said church officials are also concerned for the safety of children who attend the Boys & Girls Club and a pre-school program housed there.
John Still, a resident of The Glade at the end of Holland Glade Road, said he's concerned about in-fill development along Route 1 without improvements to allow for increased traffic capacity.
“You have to put your foot down and say no more development without capacity, or you are going to smother us,” Still said.
He said he's also concerned about use of the property and its possible effect on the environment and aquifer. He said it was unbelievable that no Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control representative attended the Preliminary Land Use Service meeting when the rezoning was presented for review by state officials.
If the rezoning application is approved, the developer will submit a site plan to the planning and zoning commission and state agencies for review and approval.