Cape Gazette
http://capegazette.villagesoup.com/p/1166275

A decision impacting Lewes for years to come

By Paul and Mitzi Kratt | Apr 24, 2014

Editor's Note: The following letter is being republished because a section of it was garbled in the first publication.

We are opposed to the proposed Highland Heights Subdivision because it will have a negative impact on the city of Lewes for years to come. This proposed subdivision, between Fourth Street Extension and Seagull Drive is not in accordance with the current City of Lewes Comprehensive Plan (dated 2005) which calls much of it a wetland and calls for the purchase of it by the city for a park. Doesn't the comprehensive plan carry legal status and state that no development shall be permitted except as consistent with the plan?

The name Highland Heights subdivision is an oxymoron because this wetland is at a lower elevation than the land all around it so it helps to absorb excess rainfall which is a service to the homes in the area. It helps but cannot absorb all the water. This is evident after a heavy rain when you walk by the area and see small ponds of standing water - often containing ducks! What will happen to all this excess water if this land is developed and filled? The tax ditches in Pilottown Village already have their own stormwater drainage capacity problems. While there is already an unsolved problem, why add to it?

In addition to many large and small trees, this area is already home to wildlife such as deer and foxes.  We do enjoy walking Fourth Street Extended early in the morning or later in the evening and seeing the trees and wildlife.

Can't the planning commission look at alternatives to a housing development, which will kill the trees and displace the wildlife, such as the park recommended in the comprehensive plan?

The development of this property will have a negative impact on future property values, insurance rates, and public safety. The way the property is situated with cul-de-sacs rather than thru streets will make traffic flow cumbersome. As we watch this wooded wetland that has aided in absorption of water runoff disappear, causing water to drain onto - rather than away from - neighboring properties, it will affect flood insurance rates and property values. This affects all Lewes residents, even those of us who live blocks away, because Highland Heights could set a precedent allowing unwise developments anywhere in Lewes.

The April 2 planning commission meeting was our first, and we came to that meeting as a retired teacher and accountant. We do understand the commission is composed of dedicated volunteers giving freely of their time. What we don't understand is, though we have no expertise to offer in this situation, there are many in our community who have, and those people were not allowed to provide that valuable information at the meeting.

All who are concerned should make sure that they attend the public hearing and make their feelings known. Hopefully before that meeting experts in wetlands management will be consulted, because whatever happens to this property will have a serious impact environmentally and economically to the city of Lewes for years to come.

Paul and Mitzi Kratt
Lewes

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