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Lewes, Delaware
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September 6, 2013     Cape Gazette
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cape Gazette. VIEWPOINTS FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 6- MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 2013 7 -Letters )) Continued from page 6 Route 17 Is it to provide access to and increased use of already ex- isting (and congested) secondary roads n the area? Is it to facilitate through traffic in the commercial development? The specifics of where the road would be constructed and where it will end on Old Landing Road are unclear. Would the road be new con- struction from the existing road stump from Route 24 to Airport Road, and would it skirt the Sterling Crossing neighborhood entirely? Or would the new construc- tion connect the existing road stump from Route 24 and an existing road in Sterling Crossing converting it to a through road rather than a road serving a small residential community? If the road were constructed, to what degree would the traffic on Route 1 actually be improved? Would the Level of Service (LOS) on Route 1 improve significantly from its current level (D or F?) to at least B or C? What is the change in pro- jected LOS on Route 24 and Old Landing Road due to the pro- posed road putting more traffic on those roads? What would be the change jn LOS on a Sterling Crossing road if the proposed road were to link with that road? What is the cost of the pro- posed road? The proposed road and commercial development would greatly impact the Sterling Cross- ing residential neighborhood. If county council decides that the road and development are necessary, the council should ensure that there is sufficient landscaping and other enhance- ments along all of Copper Drive to protect the Sterling Crossing residential neighborhood from noise and aesthetic infringement due to the commercial develop- ment and road. Such landscaping is part of the cost of the develop- ment and road. Recommendations: Sussex County Council should provide the public with responses to the questions raised in this petition. While the cost to the devel- Oper would be less if the new construction linked to some existing residential community road, the negative impacts on the community would be major, in fact, devastating. If a road is necessary, it should not link to any other residential roads in the community. The commercial developer should be responsible for the im- plementation of sufficient land- scaping/other means of ensuring aesthetic and noise separation between both commercial devel- opment and possible road and the Sterling Crossing neighborhood or other neighborhoods. This rezoning is an opportu- nity for county council to demon- strate to the public the thorough- ness of its planning consideration process and to arrive at a solution that minimizes harm and maxi- mizes benefits to Sussex County and the Rehoboth Beach area. Sterling Crossing neighbors are ready and willing to work with the council and the commer- cial developer. Sterling Crossing residents Rehoboth Beach Commissioner Legates responds to Claybrook My letter to the editor, Refer- endum not ready for prime time, published Aug. 23, elicited a re- sponse from Joan Claybrook Aug. 30. Ms. Claybrook questioned my justification for a vote against a non-binding referendum for a gross receipts tax on Dewey's businesses. Her letter lacks the following information: A "non-binding referendum" was the issue in my letter; not a "non-binding resolution," as If we let them divide us, t is most upsetting to read the recent letters to the editor in the Cape Gazette. Those of us who have owned property here for years need to pull together to stop this senseless, uncontrolled development. The most recent spate of letters is around all the RV parks proposed in the eastern side of Sussex County. The reality'is that we have a land-use plan that is useless. Three men from the west side of the county control every- thing that is being built and will be built here regardless of the impact to the environment, traffic, safety and tourism. Yes, tourism. At some point, tourists will stop coming here, because it is no longer pleasant to visit here. Why do they control everything? They ap- point the members of the planning and zoning board and the members of the board of adjust- ment. There are five council members, and three votes control all of this. Nothing will change until the voters change this. It is not only the county, but also the state, that I blame for this horrible situation. The county i s required to submit a land-use plan to the state, which the state reviews and then requires that the county enact ordinances to support the plan. The county has never enacted these ordinances, which would have strengthened somewhat the land-use plan. they will conquer The state has never done anything about this in the past or now, Sussex County Council continually either votes to make something conditional use (big joke) or says they are down-zoning something, as in the case of the Cedar Grove Road RV Park (big joke again)! Also, there is this whole DelDOT situation that complicates all of this. The developer hires and pays a firm to perform a traffic study and then DelDOT 95 percent of the time rubber stamps it. In the Cedar Grove Road RV situation, the traffic study does not even have the roads that are impacted going in the right direction! So, the RV park will be built, and DelDOT will play catch-up with widening the impacted roads. The surrounding communi- ties will be locked into their developments and will probably lose more of their land to the widening of the roads just as Sandy Brae has lost considerable land to the realignment of Cedar Grove and Postal Lane. It is time that those of us who are concerned about this continuing circus get it together and not only change this county council, but also get our state senators and representatives who are ignoring this horrible DelDOT rubber stamp situation to get on board. Betty Deacon Lewes stated in Ms. Claybrook's opening paragraph. The town's budget and finance committee provided a verbal report of their June 22 meeting to the Dewey Beach commissioners. The committee unanimously recommended an ordinance and a referendum for a gross receipts tax to be consid- ered by the commissioners. After the committee's June 22 meeting, two committee mem- bers recanted on their verbal approval, documented in emails after June 24 to the commission- ers. One member testified to his rationale publicly, and both viewpoints were published in the Cape Gazette (Dewey tables gross receipts tax by Kara Nuz- back, July 22; letters to the editor, Aug. 1 and 16.). On July 19, the town held a public hearing on the ordinance and the referendum. During a contentious discussion, I asked for the exact wording of the committee's June 22 motion that included their recommendations. The committe e meeting minutes had not been drafted nor ratified. At the July 19 hearing, Dewey's town solicitor advised against the committee's proposal that wascontingent upon pending litigation on the town's author- ity to enact taxes. Although Ms. Claybrook submitted written comments for the July 19 public hearing, the legal nuances of the committee's proposal may have been clarified by her attendance. The July 19 public hearing discussion ventured beyond FOIA compliancy with the public notice/agenda. The lack of a request to add an agenda item for the next commis- sioner meeting Aug. 9 prevented a potential revote in a timely manner. Absentee balloting would begin Aug. 30 (proposed). I believed this timeline was inad- equate for voter education. Anna Legates Dewey Beach commissioner RV City: P&Z Commission ignores the people On Aug. 27, I sat in the Sussex Planning & Zoning Commission Continued on page 8 Obscure provision allowing higher buildings in Sussex nless Sussex County Council takes action not currently in the works, or anticipat- ed, the height limit for all build- ings in the county that have any kind of public component will be 60 feet. That's 18 feet higher than the 42-foot limit that has been the norm for the past several decades. It means that almost any kind of commercial building can go up to 60 feet. The higher limit is based on an obscure passage in the county's zoning regulations that states:" ... public and semi-public or public service buildings, hospitals, institutions or schools, when permitted in a district, may be erected to a height not exceeding 60 feet." It states further that churches and temples may be built up to 75 feet high. The additional height allowed for all such buildings is permitted so long as "side and rear yards are each increased by at least one foot for each one foot of ad- ditional building height above the height regulations for the district in which the building is located." So, for example, a 60- foot building in a commercial zone must have 18 more feet of side and rear setbacks than is required for 42-foot buildings. Public and semi-public are broad terms. Do they mean public buildings in the sense of courthouses and other gov- ernment buildings or gather- ing places, or do they mean buildings that have any kind of areas open to the public, such as stores or even an apartment building with a public lobby? Would that pass the semi-pub- lic test and give the property owner an additional 18 feet over the 42 feet that has been the norm? Since the provision was discovered a few years ago by attorney Jim Fuqua, who does a lot of land-use work in Sussex, the county has taken the broad- brush approach. Fuqua found the 60-foot exception when he was preparing to go for a vari- -ance for the mixed-use build- ings at the Vineyards project on Route 9. Prospective tenants asked for first-floor commercial space with 20-foot ceilings. The developers wanted three floors of residential units above the stores, which the commercial zone's 42-foot limit wouldn't allow. When Fuqua discovered the 60-foot provision, he asked DENNIS FORNEY PHOTO CONTRACTORS ON THE SITE of the former Colonial Oaks Motel are finish. ing up site work for the hotel being built by Hudson Management company. county officials for an interpre- tation. "It was news to us," said Sussex Planning and Zoning Director Lawrence Lank. "That was five or more years ago. Apparently it had been in the ordinance for years. We didn't pick up on it, and the lawyers didn't pick up on it. Then there was lots of discussion among lawyers. The county attorney Continued on page 8