Several residents attended the May 13 Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission meeting to let commissioners know they are concerned about the lack of planned amenities in The Vines of Sandhill, a 393 single-family lot community between Milton and Georgetown.
The amenities - including a 9,900-square-foot clubhouse, pool, tennis courts and bocce court - were supposed to be completed within two years after the first building permit was issued. The subdivision was approved in 2008, but the first building permit wasn't issued until 2017.
Developer Anthony Sposato is requesting that the amenities plan match the approved phasing plan, which requires amenities to be constructed on or before the 136th certificate of occupancy is issued with construction scheduled to begin in fall 2021. The phasing plan was approved when the project was granted a six-month extension to start construction.
So far, 74 homes have been built in the community along Huff Road. “Seventy-four is not a big number to support a clubhouse and pool with HOA dues. Another 30 to 60 homes would help with that. You might want to consider that,” Commissioner Bruce Mears told the residents. “But people want what they paid for.”
“People have waited a long time so this needs to be started as soon as possible,” said Commissioner Holly Wingate.
Commission Chairman Bob Wheatley said the housing market is strong and more permits will be issued. “I think the public would prefer a deadline versus the number of permits. They want to know a fixed date,” he said.
County staff said 27 new building permits have been issued so far over the past two years.
After much discussion, on a motion by Commissioner Kim Hoey Stevenson, the commission voted 4-1 to allow the developer to begin construction of amenities within six months with completion within 18 months (November 2022) or by the issuance of the 136th building permit. Mears voted against the time extension.
Wheatley said during subdivision review, the developer typically offers a building permit number when amenities should be completed. “Most of the time, we accept their number,” he said.