White’s Pond Preserve introduced to Lewes officials

First development to utilize city’s concept review
May 23, 2023

A 13-lot major subdivision is planned for an 8.2-acre site off Freeman Highway in Lewes.

Developer JTJ DE Investments LLC presented a conceptual plan for White’s Pond Preserve to the city’s planning commission in April. Under a new review process in the subdivision code, a developer has the option of doing a conceptual review with the planning commission prior to submitting an application for preliminary review. 

White’s Pond Preserve is the first conceptual review under the updated code. The review allows the developer to introduce the plan and discuss their thoughts with commissioners. 

The subdivision is planned near the recently approved commercial building off Monroe Avenue Extended; it will border White’s Pond opposite Showfield. 

Attorney Jon Horner, representing the applicant, said 13 lots is below the maximum density allowed on the parcel. The conceptual plan, designed by Milton-based Pennoni Associates, features lots with a minimum size of 10,000 square feet.

The subdivision includes a single street with a circle cul-de-sac at the end.

The plan contains nearly four acres of open space. Lewes code calls for 20% of new developments to be open space – 1.64 acres in this case. 

In addition to White’s Pond, the community is bordered by wetlands along its northeastern border. Plans call for wetland buffers of 10, 20 and 30 feet, and there's potential for an additional stormwater management feature within the 30-foot buffer. Eight lots are proposed to border White’s Pond, with a buffer of about 20 feet between the property line and the pond’s edge.

Community open space is designed at the front of the development; plans call for a connection to the bike trail along Freeman Highway. Additional community open space is proposed within the cul-de-sac and is a potential spot for a pond lookout and rain garden. 

“It would be a great educational opportunity as well for people to sit there and read something about the rain garden and what it actually does for the green infrastructure of the site,” said Eric Wahl, a landscape architect at Pennoni.

Wahl said no wetlands will be disturbed. The goal is to direct runoff to a marsh area, away from White’s Pond, Wahl said. Plans call for a 22-foot-wide road with a 30-foot right of way, creating sidewalks on both sides. 

An existing home on the site is excluded from the borders of the proposed community. The plan also anticipates acquisition of about 1.15 acres, which would be included in the open space, across four lots on the southern boundary.

There currently is no access to the property. Horner said the developer is relying on a 30-foot easement through the neighboring Gibbs property to become a public road. Horner said a condition of approval for Gibbs’ commercial building is future dedication of the road.

Commissioner Melanie Moser asked for two lots to be designed so people can enjoy a view of the pond. However, access to White’s Pond is not legal without the permission of the developer of Showfield, which owns the pond. 

Horner said he would like to see residents of the proposed community be allowed to use the pond, but he does not want to encourage trespassing.

Moser and fellow Commissioner Debra Evalds said the development has a chance to be a model for future stormwater management practices. Moser said she thinks the rain garden could be an example of how effective the low-impact measure can be. Evalds noted the proximity to the pond, saying she thinks the development team could showcase responsible runoff management.

Horner and Wahl will review the discussion with the planning commission as they prepare to submit the plan for official review. 

Conceptual plans can be viewed on the planning commission’s April meeting agenda.


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