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August 27, 1999     Cape Gazette
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August 27, 1999

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CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, August 27 - September 2, 1999 17 Plans would create 274-unit development near Midway By Michael Short A 274-unit development has been proposed for a 106-acre par- cel of land near Midway. The land has already been ap- proved for the 133-unit, single- family home subdivision Carpen- ter's Crossing. Those plans were approved, but never constructed and the land remains a vacant field located roughly behind the Jiffy Lube on Route 1. Now, Blenheim Lands L.L.C. have presented a rezoning request to develop Bay Crossing. Those plans call for 179 single-fmily homes and 95 townhouses with a zoning of medium density and residential planned community. The project would be adjacent to Pot Hook Creek, Midway Park and Dove Knoll and would be just north of the Midway Shopping Center. Delaware's Department of Transportation (DelDOT) has rec- ommended that the county con- sider approval despite concerns over traffic, A July 20 letter from DelDOT's Bill Brockenbrough to Sussex County Planning and Zon- ing expressed concerns, but rec- ommended approval with certain. Bays Continued from page 14 project with DNREC and the uni- versity College of Marine Studies. He reiterated Bunting' s caution that this is a preliminary move and no one is expecting an answer or plan immediately. "This is an idea that has been passed around for some time," Richards said. "The first time around, the existing technology, as I understood it, could have end- ed up flooding 50 to 100 feet of shoreline around the project. Some people who have built large, expensive homes in those areas would not be pleased. "But you know, George doesn't just take things at face value. He wants to explore engineering questions that could lead to flush- ing without flooding." All parties inter6sted in a rapid flushing process understand the problems arising from the rela- tively slow natural action of the three inland bays that funnel in and out through Indian River In- let. The distance that waters must travel to be exchanged in the ocean is great; the Little As- sawoman must flush in and out through a canal that connects it to the Indian River Bay and to the inlet. "Natural flushing takes nutrient accumulation and puts it out to sea," Richards saint. "Because of the coastal framework, the resi- dence time in our inland bays, the time water stays in the bays, is 80 to 120 days. By comparison, the residence time in Assawoman and the Isle of Wight bays at Ocean It-m f i t II ii conditions. "This project would be in a multimodal investment area with respect toour statewide long range transportation plan ant nor- mally we are not opposed t) de- velopment in these areas. B lanc- ing its location in a multi- lodal investment area to a signiticant extent is the fact that the t:'affic impact study indicates poor 1 evels of service at several of the ;tudy area intersections..." Broc ken- brough wrote. "The develol: ment of this site would add more t :affic to those already high volume s and we would prefer that did not hap- pen." Brockenbrough said St ssex 268A and Postal Lane were nter- setions that would function with traffic level of service (LCS) F, which is considered the vofst possible distinction. A is consid- ered the best LOS. Despite the concern, Br:ken- brough said that the proposel Bay Crossing project could actually generate less traffic than ttte al- ready approved Carpenter's Crossing. Brockenbrough also sak that Bay Crossing includes conmcting (ity have a residence" time f 30 days. "Those bays can sustai 1 eel grass and there is a healthy ;hell- fish population that we don't have any more. We need to see if we can implement a flushing s]'stem that will bring us a much slkorter residence time of our inland Days' waters, even with only one inlet flushing them in and out." Richards and Bunting sail that a pipe system has.been disct ssed, but it remains to be deterlined whether it could operate on ;ravi- ty and tidal action alone, or if some form of me'chaniz ttion would have to be employed. Both agreed that there would have to be some way of controlling in-flow in storm conditions. Rep. John Schroeder, D-L 'wes, a member of the Bond Bill, 3om- mittee, is hopeful that a ploject can be developed, but he r,'cog- nizes that an enormous eng neer- ing feat will be required. "What we know is that we have three bays, a huge area, l;oing through one inlet, and we need some way to provide a more rapid flush," Schroeder said. "Marine biologists say that the sitvation aggravates the nutrient prollems, but until we get engineers an ] ma- rine scientists to put some pr 3pos- Ms,on paper, we can't go any- where." ! Schroede said legislator and all concerned parties agree/that the state doesn't want to spend a lot of money developing ome- thing that does not have aauch chance of success. He pointed out what Bunting and Richard also . stated, no one knows if any!other water communities have dealt with a Similar problem. [ 'q'hat's one of the things want this study to dot" ,l,Entinel said. links requested by DelDOT. Those links are part of the Route 1 grid study. If the older, approved project is built, then DelDOT would have to buy subdivision land and build those connecting roads, the letter noted. "For both of the above reasons, we feel the county should consid, er approving this," he said. But Brockenbrough's letter also noted some concerns about the neigh- boring Midway Park subdivision because access for the Bay Cross- ing project would be partially through the small mobile home community. Access would be from both Route 1 and from Mid- way Park. That prompted the Midway Park Board of Directors to write in a letter to the county Planning and Zoning that "this will severe- ly impact on our community and it will greatly increase the already overburdened Route 1. We are deeply concerned and troubled about this ,plan and the havoc it will create." Brockenbrough also expressed some concerns about Midway Park and recommended that im- Continued on page 18 "Make me aware of some work in that direction, if other states have done something." Richards said that he does not know of similar projects right now, but as an organization, the CIB is part of a network of 27 oth- er estuary system organizations. "As part of a network, we pass information back and forth," Richards said. "That will be one of the first things we do, get into the network and ask who has this problem, what have they done. "We may be the first, we just don't know." Bunting looks forward to start- ing a.process that could lead to healthier inland bays. He said, within a month, he hopes to have a better grasp of what technology exists and what potential there is for a project in the three connect- ed bays in the Cape Region. "I hope we can proceed with a study and have some ideas before January when the General Assem- bly convenes," Schroeder said. "Who owns the land along the bays is an6ther big issue, where the state owns land, it is easier to plan for any installations that might be needed. "And, the study might deter-" mine that it is just not feasible to proceed with a flushing project. There is still so much that we don't know, but the intent is to im- prove and maintain the health of the inland bays and that is what we are going for." "The health of the inland bays is of importance to those of us who live and work here," Bunting said, "but the big picture is that they are important to the econom- ic health of the entire state." The initial inland bays flushing study meeting is 9 a.m., Wednes- day. Sent. I. ng Est. 1 58 LISTEDI -00z,,zeD " Electrical Contractor L.P.I. Cert. 959 645-8457 645-9060 1-800-61 O-8457 CERTIFIED LIGHTNING PROTECTION P.O. Box 252, Lewes, DE 19958 15th Annual New & Used BOATS MOTORS GYAMAHA TRAILERS PWC PLUS visit the giant flea market tent to get tons of marine pans, accessories, & supplies at clearance prices! J