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Cape Gazette
Lewes, Delaware
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August 27, 1999     Cape Gazette
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August 27, 1999
 

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10 -CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, August 27 - September 2, 1999 Pilothouse Continued from page 1 in architectural history and preservation, captured the essence of the crowd's concerns in his brief comments. "The looming size of this project on the edge of the town's historic district - its non-traditional style and its impact on traffic in downtown Lewes - all make this a big prob- lem. It's ironic and troubling that the developers are seeking to ex- ploit the community's key assets by proposing a mega-project that would degrade those very quali- ties." A loud "amen" came singing from the crowd and precipitated heavy applause. As has been the case over the past year, attorney James Yori, representing Kiernan and Moore, noted that his clients have been carefully following procedures set out by Lewes for such proj- ects. "This is not a zoning hear- ing," said Yori. "We are seeking preliminary approval for our plans. The applicant has com- plied with all the requirements at this stage of the process. What the applicants have proposed is a permitted use and meets the spe- cific intent of the commercial core business district where the project is located. This munici- pality zoned this property for what the applicant is intending to use it for." Wayne Sharp, an architect with Buck Simpers and Associates of Wilmington, noted that the pro- posed Pilothouse project covers 45 percent of the property. His diagrams showed the adjacent Inn at Canal Square complex cover- ing 46 percent of its property and Mariners Way condominiums covering 56 percent of its proper- ty site. He said there would be access for the public to walk along the canal in front of the project and public access from the alley between Gilligan's and the Inn at Canal Square. "The area along the canal is private now but we're proposing a canal walk with benches where people IAIfl,'IT DO I DO TO GT / Df, L/t/igf, UIgf,TRICTf, D DRIVR'S LIC[H[? There m three Neps: Ocomplete a state approved Driver Education program. OSupervised driving for six months. Osix months of unsupervised driving during daytime and supervised driving during night hours. could relax. We would propose removing the gate that's there now which would allow people to walk all along the canal past Gilli- gan's. That would encourage linkage for the canal walk that's been talked about." Approvals in place Yori noted that the project has all the required state, county and local approvals needed to date. "There would be fire hydrants, it's close to the fire department and police station and hospital. The project would generate transfer taxes, additional property taxes, jobs in the retail shops, 10 more retail stores and the 20 residential units will use the existing retail businesses downtown." He held up pictures of the exist- ing boatyard property. "As for so- cial impact, this would clean up the boatyard. There's lots of junk there now and all the property drains to the canal. That draining would stop under the approved stormwater management plan." Lewes Planning Commission members now have 90 days to ei- ther approve or deny preliminary approval for the project. Lewes City Manager Elaine Bisbee said if the vote is to deny, that recom- mendation goes to the Mayor and City Council for consideration. If the Mayor and City Council vote to accept the recommendation for denial, the city review process ends. The applicants could then appeal to the state court system if they felt so inclined. If the planning commission votes to grant preliminary ap- proval, or if the Mayor and City Council decided to grant prelimi- nary approval over a negative rec- ommendation from the planning commission, the project would then go into the final approval process. Bisbee said that process in- volves finalizing plans and per- mits before giving it another re- view by the planning commission. "The planning commission also may require a traffic impact study during the final review process," said Bisbee. The planning com- mission would then vote on final approval and Send that recom- mendation to the Mayor and City Council. At that point the plan- ning commission's role ends and the Mayor and City Council would hold another public hearing prior to a final vote. Opposition presented The fact that the developers have downscaled their original project frbm 24 residential and 18 commercial units to 20 residential and I0 retail units made little dif- ference to the opponents. Exten- sive statements of opposition were presented by John Mateyko, Richard Anthony and Gavin Braithwaite. The three have been part of a concerted effort to stop the project which has included a petition-signing campaign with more than 1,000 signatures of op- CAPE HENLOPEN COLLEXION TM tiechar or Nil Tllo DiviMon of Motor Vohicl today. Learn to drive for life. Dennis Fomey photo Wayne Sharp, an architect working for the Pilothouse proj. ect, points out project details during the packed house pub- lie hearing Wednesday night at Lewes Public Library. position. Mateyko said there are numer- ous violations of the Lewes codes controlling projects such as Pilot- house. '`The underlying cause of the numerous violations stems from the developers' decision ear- ly on to overbuild. It's simply too big. This site will set the standard for what people's image of Lewes is - on post cards etc. It's of ex- treme importance to the commu- nity. Most businesses in this town depend on the tourist trade. Any- thing that severely affects that needs to be seriously considered. The code wants this area to look like Second Street with stores right up on the street front. What this proposes is illegal. That's why it can't be built." Anthony addressed a number of legal problems he has found both with the procedures involving the review processes and with how the proposed project lays against the zone for which it is proposed. '`They tell us this is a commercial core use and their project is a per- mired use for this zone. But what they're proposing includes 9,500 square feet of retail space and 47,000 square feet of residential floor space. That's not even close to one to one. Only 17 percent of what they've proposed is directed to serving a principle permitted use. And the code says they should make efforts to provide sufficient views and access to the water. This project obstructs that view." Braithwaite pointed out a num- ber of parking problems. "The developer has shortcut as much as Continued on page 12 etailed sculptures of Southern D Ddaware s rich maritime heritage each crafted in 14kt. gold. Detail that even includes a diamond for the beacon light. These Limited Edition lighthouses let you hold history in the palm of your hand- because they're only 3/4 inches tall. All are great as pendants or charms. New for summer 99 is the Thomas Point Lighthouse from the Chesapeake Bay. If you want sea creatures we have those as well. A Belhngers creation that is sold exclusively by us. All copyrights are strictly enforced. ...the fasting aqfference 3602 Hwy One Kehoboth Beach, DE 19971 Tuesday - Saturday 9-5 227-6410