Cool Spring Crossing public hearing postponed

State planning office begins 45-day period of negotiations to resolve objections
February 21, 2024

The Cool Spring Crossing public hearing scheduled for Wednesday, March 6, has been postponed and will be held at a later date.

At Sussex County Council’s Feb. 20 meeting, county attorney J. Everett Moore recommended that council not introduce the four ordinances required for the mixed-use community off Route 9 west of Lewes because of the objection to the project expressed by the State Office of Planning Coordination. He said staff would have to review the state’s letter before the process can move forward.

He said introducing them at this time would not be appropriate.

In the Feb. 15 letter to the county,State Office of Planning Coordination Director David Edgell said because of the state’s objection to the future land use map amendment, negotiations are necessary.

“Our objection will begin a 45-day period of negotiations intended to solicit agreement and resolution of our concerns about this plan amendment. I look forward to learning more about the county’s approach to the review and consideration of this plan amendment, and how we can collaborate to address the issues identified in our PLUS review of the amendment and also in the three PLUS reviews of the proposed land development,” Edgell wrote.

He said the amendment to coastal area from low-density area is inconsistent with State Strategies for Policy and Spending because the parcel is in a Level 4 area.

He said state agency staff have expressed archeological and environmental concerns. In addition, DelDOT is undergoing a Coastal Corridor Study, which will include road improvements along Route 9.

“It would be premature to amend the comprehensive plan before the transportation study was complete,” he said. “We look forward to working with the county on a process that will evaluate this application in conjunction with the Coastal Corridor Study through a robust community planning effort led by the county.”

Edgell said he would like to meet with county staff no later than March 1, and that negotiations to discuss state objections must be completed no later than March 31. “I am hopeful that our discussions will result in an agreement on a path forward to resolve our concerns and achieve consistency with the state’s land-use goals, policies and strategies,” he said.

In addition, according to a press release from LM Marketing Group, the Feb. 21 informational meeting and the Feb. 22 virtual were postponed. They will be rescheduled to align with the new public hearing date, said Laurie Matthews of LM Marketing. 

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About the project

The Freeman Companies plan includes 1,922 residential units, including 584 single-family home units, 432 multifamily units and 906 duplex/townhomes, with 174 affordable apartments as part of the Sussex County Rental Program, which provides units below market rates based on income. The parcel is 637 acres.

Of the 411,000 square feet of commercial area, 246,500 square feet are dedicated to a new YMCA, an education facility and an assisted-living facility with medical offices.

The remaining 165,475 square feet of commercial would comprise a grocery store, restaurants, retail stores, a hotel and theater.

At build out, the community would generate more than 30,000 average daily vehicle trips.

The project would be built in phases over the next 15 to 20 years.

Because the property is designated as low density by Sussex County, an application will be required to amend the future land-use map to a coastal area where higher-density housing is permitted.

The project will require not only a future land-use map amendment, but also a rezoning from AR-1, agricultural-residential, to MR-RPC, medium-density residential planned community, and conditional uses for multifamily housing and an assisted-living facility.



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