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Lewes, Delaware
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April 26, 1996     Cape Gazette
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April 26, 1996
 

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I0. CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, April 26--May 2, i996 State planning committee to be involved in Wal-Mart decision By Michael Short Delaware's Department of Transporta- tion may issue its report on the impact of a proposed local Wal-Mart next week. "I'm shooting for the early part of next week," said Joel Leidy, subdivision engi- neer. Development of the proposed Wal-Mart off Rt. 9 in the Nassau Commons area has been in limbo while Delaware's Depart- ment of Transportation assesses the poten- tial impact of the proposal. The impact on traffic has become a major issue for three large projects in the Rt. 1 area, the Wal-Mart, a newly proposed Lowe's at the intersection of Five Points and the expansion of the Rehoboth Outlet Center. Leidy said that he has received comments on the proposed 149,000 square foot Wal- Mart from Bill Brock- enbrough of DelDOT and is now reviewing those comments. Lei- dy did not want to elaborate on what Del- DOT expects to say in its report for the pro- ject, which is proposed for 19.7 acres of land. But he said the fol- LEIDY lowing areas are con- cerns: the impact of a proposed Wal-Mart on the vacant land surrounding the area where it may be built. In some other areas such as Milford, many other businesses have sprung up and surrounded a Wal-Mart after it was built. There is a lot of open space in the area of the development, according to Leidy. the impact of the development on the Five Points intersection. the safety of a potential entrance to the property just below the Nassau Bridge. That existing road bears right immediately below the bridge and goes to Nassau Park, Nassau Commons and Nassau Vineyard. Such a road could be a back entrance to the property, but its location and design at the base of Nassau Bridge is a potential con- ecru. Bob Raley, the owner of the proposed Wal-Mart property, said that he believes he already has an entrance permit for the prop- erty. Raley said that permit goes back to 1972 when he has proposed a 935,000 square foot shopping center for the Nassau Commons land. Raley said he was issued an entrance per- mit located on Rt. 9 roughly at the location of a small barbecue stand that operates sea- sonally on the road. But Leidy disputes that, saying that he doesn't think an entrance permit was ever actual- ly issued. Leidy said his rec- ommendation will go to Delaware Depart- ment of Transportation Secretary Anne Canby for review. It will then be sent to Sussex County's Plan- ning and Zoning Corn- RALEY mission, although he said State Planning Director David Hugg would also probably be notified. Jeff Bullock, the head of the new Cabinet Committee on State Planning, said he also expects the Cabinet Committee to be in- volved with the review of DelDOT's rec- ommendations on the Wal-Mart proposal. DelDOT will take the point on the issue and the committee's role will be to back up the Department of Transportation, he said. The state committee became involved in the Rehoboth Outlet Center debate and its membership includes both Hugg and Can- by. Bullock, who is also the chief of staff for Governor Carper, said he has not seen DelDOT's recommendations yet. Bullock said he expects the trail or chain of command on the issue to basically flow from Leidy to Canby to himself. Bullock said he thinks the cabinet committee will want to play a role on such large issues as Wal-Mart, just as it did with the proposed Rehoboth Outlet Center expansion. "I think the cabinet committee will take a look at that," he said. "The time is right," he said, for such in- volvement. He emphasized, however, that any state involvement is not intended to op- pose development. The state, instead, is in- terested in putting common sense back into the process, he said. That's an apparent reference to concerns about the quality of life and the impact poorly planned or designed development can have, especially on roads or other infra- structure. "Yes, the cabinet committee will play a leadership role," he said. While traffic has been the dominant issue on such applications, he said the cabinet group is involved in many other planning issues and concerns. "We are engaged on many, many fronts... We have broader in- terests in setting overall priorities." Bullock said he thinks the governor's of- fice may be developing a legislative pack- age to deal with issues like growth, infra- structure, open space, rezoning and land use planning (a number of such bills have al- ready been introduced in the legislature). He declined to elaborate on specifics, but said "I think we will have more to say." Edgehill redesigning would reflect historic By Dennis Forney The developers of a proposed 36,000 square foot Edgehill Phar- macy and Lewes Medical Arts building on Savannah Road have gone back to the drawing board. Responding to concerns raised by members of the Lewes Commercial Architecture Review Com- mission, Pre- ston Dyer of Ed Med Prop- erties LLC said his firm is attempting DYER to come up with a design more in keeping with Lewes architecture other than Beebe Medical Center. "We're looking at a design now that's Very close to the architec- ture of Lewes city hall," said Dy- er. "There's a building in Dover that is more historic in appearance that we think might be more ac- ceptable to the review commis- sion," said Dyer. "I don't think it blends with the hospital, which it would be next to, but no one seems to want it to blend with the hospital. It would be a little more to build but if that's what they [Commission members] want that's what we'll do. We want to get a design ap- proved before we go for a zoning variance." The first 36,000 square foot building proposed by the affiliate company of Edgehill Drugs Inc. was modern in appearance, ap- architecture proximating the style of the Tun- nell Cancer Center." "The one we're looking at now has a peaked gable and we're looking at how that would fit into the height requirement. We would like to get the style ap- proved Commercial Architecture Review Commission before we go to the Board of Adjustment. It seems fairer to the Board of Ad- justment. We want everyone reading from the same page. We've already extended proposed landscaping, changed a sidewalk, and have designed in larger trees at the request of review commis- sion members." The developers of the proposed facility, to be built where the pre- sent Edgehill Pharmacy stands, will need approval from the Lewes Board of Adjustment be- cause the pharmacy proposed in the new building is larger than the present pharmacy. Such retail operations aren't permitted in the Community Fa- cilities District where the current Edgehill is located so that present use is non-conforming. Con- structing a larger pharmacy would expand that non-conforming use and as such would require a zon- ing variance. A variance may also be needed for a less-than-required setback on the side of the building facing Beebe's Tunnell Cancer Center. That would be the building's main face. The facility, as proposed, would be served by an above and below parking garage to be built at its rear. West Rehoboth Continued from page 1 Construction on Lot 73, Central Avenue, began on Monday, April 22. The building permit lists the maximum height of the tower as being 150 feet. "That we didn't know about it also concerns us," said Minnie Smith. The shelter may he a 12 foot by 30 foot structure, and the permit states that both the exterior and roof will be constructed of metal. That building, however, may not he erected until a revised plan is submitted to Sussex County Plan- ning and Zoning, stating that the unmanned control building will be relocated 30 feet from Central Av- enue. The cost of the project is listed at $80,000. Members of West Side New Be- ginnings said at their meeting that although they understand that Catts has a legal right to build the structures on the commercially zoned property, they feel he is morally irresponsible for doing so. The residents, they said, have struggled for more than four years to make improvements in the community. Many of those efforts have been successful. In addition to its most recent news that individual resi- dents are eligible for up to $35,000 in low interest loans for property improvements, the com- munity has made other progress in the last several years. It has reduced trash in the neighborhood, several properties have been improved, drug acivity is declining, the youth program is growing, and West Side New Be- ginnings has earned a matching grant from the state in order to builda community center. The community is also a member of Gov. Thomas Carper's Strong Communities Initiative. "I'm just furious with him," said Ellen Smith of Catts. "He owns 15 lots and they're the junkiest around." Catts uses lots in the area to store beach shacks during the off season. "I just feel that with all the other things in this community that are an eyesore, we do not need a tow- er," said Minnie Smith. Bruce Wright, community de- velopment specialist with First State Community Action Agency, recommended to West New Be- ginnings members that they send letters to Bell Atlantic-NYNEX officials. He said he believed the company would be more sensitive to the community needs. Neither Bell Atlantic-NYNEX nor Catts returned calls regarding their position on the issue. Minnie Smith, vice president of West Side New Beginnings (left) and Susan Frank, director of Delaware State Housing Authority, shared a happy moment on Thursday, April 18 when Frank made an announcement in West Rehoboth that the community had qualified for $700,000 of the $5 million al. located through the Neighborhood Revitalization project. Residents are able to borrow, at a three percent interest rate, up to $35,000 from the funds so they can improve their prop- erties. The project is an effort to begin a sustainable neigh- borhood improvement plan, which fits into West Side New Be- ginnings' long range goals. That happiness was crushed on Monday, April 22 when shocked residents in West Rehoboth learned that a 150 foot tall radio tower and metal building were being erected in their community.