A letter to all who care about Lewes
Most of us agree that Lewes is a wonderful place to live. It has been written up in many major publications, including the New York Times, as a hidden gem.
It has grown significantly in recent times creating an economic base to support wonderful amenities in the area, such as live music, theatre, the film and jazz festivals,interesting shops and great restaurants. Our state park is a jewel, our wildlife habitats and refuges and beautiful beaches attract many tourists, creating jobs and improving the standard of living for many. Can Lewes keep growing and continue to retain its charm without a long term plan, without an informed vision of the future? Have we reached a tipping point?
There are three new developments, one already under construction on New Road, one in the planning stage on Gills Neck Road and one proposed for Fourth Street Extended. Do we have the infrastructure to support this growth? Is this town, situated so close to the water, with only three secondary roads available for evacuation, and one of those frequently under water, ready for an emergency? Are our building codes adequate enough to provide protection during hurricanes, tornadoes and nor'easters. Is our fire department and police force adequate for this influx of new residents? Are our schools and our health care system equipped to handle hundreds of new homes? Do we have shelters in place, with required elevation to protect from high water? If the roads are clogged from May to September and if we continue to destroy our wildlife habitats, will our tourists continue to come?
Planned, intelligent growth based upon a long term vision can be good. Scatter-shot growth can result in deflated property values, decreased tourism which is a significant source of revenue, inability to cope with the increasingly more violent storms and rising waters, and a diminished quality of life for all.
Our land use decisions are in the hands of our mayor and city council, with input from other committees such as the planning commission. These are good people, many of them volunteers, who have a desire to maintain the charm of Lewes. They have asked for, and want your input. Don't disappoint them. It is demoralizing to work for a population that seems not to care.
If you share these concerns join us at council and commission meetings. The meeting times and agenda can be found at :
http://www.ci.lewes.de.us/index.cfm?ref=60200&ref6=1 or google "City of Lewes"
Please consider joining our group called Safe and Livable Lewes. Call 302-644-7128 and give us your input and find out what we are doing. There is strength in numbers. Together we can make a difference.