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March 24, 2000     Cape Gazette
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March 24, 2000

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18 - CAPE GAZEWEE, Friday, +March PAP- 0 2000 ASSA WOMAN BAY Jen Ellingsworth illustration :OCEAIq I CITY Michael Short photo Attorney Jim Fuqua presents the case for Americana Bayside on Thursday, March 16. The Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission deferred action on the issue. Planners defer Americana Bayside after five-hour hearing By Michael Short Hundreds of people showed up on Thursday, March 16 to debate what may be the largest and most divisive development ever pro- posed in Sussex County. Americana Bayside, whether you love it or you hate it, has prompted an absolutely massive amount of concern. The Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission heard more than five hours of testimony, much of it from the developer, before defer- ring any decision. A decision is expected in the next few weeks on the project which has .been blessed as angel or damned as devil, depending on your opinion. Supporters say it will pour millions of needed dol- lars into school districts, that it will do $1 million worth of road improvements and that develop- ers Carl Freeman Companies htve a proven track record for qtality work. Supporters argued that it is far better for one devel- oper to develop a planned com- munity instead of a collection of tiny, unrelated developments that cause more traffic problems and a greater strain on the area's infra- structure. Opponents say the development is just too much for an area which is already suffering from traffic woes. They argue that it will mean too much traffic, too much stress on the inland bays, too much po- tential environmental damage, too much of a burden on emergency services and water tables and they say that it could delay evacuation from the beach in case of coastal storms by minutes or even hours. Many of the opponents brought considerable political clout to their arguments and included a state senator and representative. While Rep. Shirley Price, D- Ocean View and Sen. George H. Bunting Jr., D-Bethany Beach op- pose the project, Freeman Associ- ates has plenty of political muscle of it own. He didn't speak on Thursday, but Freeman Associates has hired former Senator Richard Cordrey to be a lobbyist. Cordrey is ar- guably one of the most respected legislators ever produced by the state and he is still regarded with reverence. Sen. Tom Sharp, DPinecrest, who now holds Cordrey's old title Americana Bayside at a glance Here are some facts about Americana Bayside at a glimpse. The Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission deferred action on the project after a March 16 public meeting. Total land involved- 865.99 acres * Housing - 1,894 multifamily homes, 751 single family detached homes, 250 single family attached homes Cost of road improvements recommended by Delaware's Deg partment of Transportation (DelDOT) - over $1 million Medical facilities - Americana Bayside officials say they have letters of interest from three medical facilities interested in locating on site. One of the three is Beebe Medical Center. Development will be phased over eight to ten years Property Taxes -Developer Carl Freeman estimates that $3,673,000 will be paid yearly to the county and schools Additional planned development on site - Plans calls for 224,600 square feet of commercial space, plus an 18 hole golf course Location - West of Fenwick Island on the southern side of Route 54 in the Senate, has strongly op- posed the project. The developers are planning to build approximately 2,800 homes, commercial space totaling 224,600 square feet and an 18 hole golf course on 865.9 acres. The project is off Route 54 west of Fenwick Island. Freeman Associates, developers of Sea Colony, are well known in the area. The presentation by Freeman Associates focused again and again on a central point: thatthis project is planned in a de- velopment zone in the Sussex County land use plan and that that plan has the force of law in the county. Not only is this a development zone intended for development, but the same state agencies rush- mg to criticize Americana Bay- side, praised the county's land use plan when it was developed in 1997. Supporters of the plans, some of them employees of Freeman Associates or contractors who could gain from the project, praised it. But others with nothing to gain also praised it. The issue of school taxes was mentioned several times by sup- porters, who argued that the Continued on page 19 Saturday, March 25th 11 am- I pm 84 Poplar Drive Edgewater Estates $164,900 Come see this 3 bedroom, 2 bath home featuring a glass sunroom with gas fireplace and mature trees in rear for privacy. Excellent condition and well maintained home in a desirable development. Access to Red Mill Pond for boating & fishing or simply to watch the beautiful sunsets. Truely a must see! Directions: Rt. One to Country Fit. 265 (Minos Conoway Rd.) Take first entrance into Edgewater Estates, 1st left onto Edgewood Drive. Then Ttum left on Elm to Poplar Drive. House is on right. Prudential Gallo, REALTORS* (302).+ 645-6661 I : /:ii} :ii #+:ei 7 '+17i " Your Hostess: June Murphy