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January 24, 2014     Cape Gazette
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January 24, 2014
 

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16 FRIDAY, JANUARY 24- MONDAY, JANUARY 27, 2014 NEWS Cape Gazette Lewes Continued from page 1 than someone searching for a property to rent. Local Realtor Lee Ann Wilkin- son spoke in favor of Diver's project. She said Diver's plan will attract a different group of buy- ers, older Lewes residents who no longer wish to maintain their yard, home and property. Council reconsiders exceptions Lewes Mayor and City Council will hold a public hearing Thurs- day, Feb. 13, regarding a proposed moratorium on future applica- tions for a special exception in the marine commercial district. Councilwoman Bonnie Osler said she is concerned couricil opened the door to development it may not want when it voted to allow special exceptions in May 2013. IN ADDITION TO DIVER'S PROJECT, THE BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT ALSO APPROVED A PLAN BY VIRGINIA-BASED DEVELOPER EVERGREENE COMPANIES INC. TO BUILD NINE TOWNHOUSES IN TWO BUILDINGS AT THE CORNER OF SAVANNAH AND ANGLERS ROADS. "Our experience so .far has shown they have unleashed quite an explosion of townhouses in the marine commercial district," she said. "I personally think we need to take a breather and take a good look at this. I'm not pre- judging whether townhouses are the way to go or not; I don't know." In addition to Diver's project, the board of adjustment also approved a plan by Virgin- ia-based developer Evergreene Companies Inc. to build nine townhouses in two buildings at the corner of Savannah and Anglers roads. Other developers have expressed interest in build- ing in the marine commercial zone, Osier said. "I personally would like more of a record before we go down this path in what is a very impor- tant part of Lewes down to our public beach," she said. Speaking in front of the board of adjustment, Wilkinson said the special exception has boosted interest from potential buyers in that zone. She's personally seen the effect on a piece of property she's had on the market for many years. "I couldn't sell it because it didn't make sense," she said. "It was for sale for four years or something like that until the spe- cial exception came along. Then somebody right away wanted to do something." What often turned people away, she said, was a commercial and residential mix requirement that forced developers to have commercial space on the ground floor. That is the case at the Cap- tain's Quarters and Safe Harbor condos, both built prior to the special exception. Wilkinson said it is difficult to rent the first-floor commercial units at both places. "It's hard for people to make it work," she said. "There's just not enough foot traffic going by there to make it work. Everybody wants to be on Second Street because people walk by.!' Osier proposed a hold on all applications for nine months while mayor and council recon- sider whether that is the path they wish to take. A resolution to hold a public hearing on the mat- ter was unanimously approved by mayor and council. "The marine commercial district was originally adopted according to the code to further our core value with the sea," Osler said. "I'm not sure that this townhouse approach is consis- tent with that." IMAGES COURTESY OF CLIFF DIVER LEWES BUSINESSMAN CLIFF DIVER has been granted permission to move forward with an eight-unit townhouse project at the corner of Savannah Road and Massachusetts Avenue in Lewes. A pencil drawing shows the layout of the townhouse project.