Cape Gazette

L.T. Associates wants to submit new plan

Townsend Village Centre lawsuit on hold until 2015
By Ron MacArthur | Aug 12, 2014
Source: Sussex County This conceptual sketch of the Townsend Village Centre was used during public hearings on the proposed project.

An ongoing federal  lawsuit involving Sussex County's denial of the Townsend Village Centre complex has a new twist.

The plaintiff, L.T. Associates LLC, was granted a stay in federal court through May 28, 2015, to allow time to develop and submit a new land-use plan application to be presented to Sussex County officials.

County council rejected the developer's zoning-change application by a 3-2 vote Jan. 19, 2010. Lingo-Townsend Associates filed a lawsuit against the council for denying the zoning change, which would have paved the way for a 300,000-square-foot Townsend Village Centre shopping and office complex, planned on 46 acres off Kings Highway just outside Lewes city limits. On Oct. 14, 2009, the county's planning and zoning commission recommended denial of the application by the same 3-2 vote.

The Lewes-based developer claims its constitutional rights were violated. L.T. Associates appealed the decision to Chancery Court and refiled the case in federal court, which their attorney said had jurisdiction.

The developer contends the council’s decision was not supported by substantial evidence on the record of the public hearing and that Councilwoman Joan Deaver, D-Rehoboth Beach, “actively undertook to oppose, to encourage opposition to, and to seek denial of the application” when she was supposed to be impartial.

The developers went through the county review process twice after withdrawing an application Dec. 16, 2008, for a 521,000-square-foot complex on 68 acres. Plans were changed because of concerns expressed by area residents.

The two motions for summary judgement in the case are being held in abeyance during the stay, said Chief Magistrate Judge Mary Pat Thynge.



Comments (2)
Posted by: Jim Austin | Aug 12, 2014 12:24

The pending approval of Overbrook Town Center near the intersections of Rt. 1 and Cave Neck Rd. (800,000 sq. ft., 114 acres, 5000 parking spaces) is a LOT better situated away from existing congestion and all the other issues.


Reportedly, there will even be a new interchange built there, with an Overbrook bridge over Rt. 1 to help keep Rt. 1 traffic moving (ample on/off lanes and ramps, no traffic light needed at Cave Neck Rd). The developer has reportedly agreed to cover the cost of this interchange.


There is no need for the Lingo project if this is approved. Aside from construction headaches--present with any major project at any location--the Overbrook project seems to be less intrusive long term.


Overbrook Town Center will provide more tax revenue; more pre-construction, construction, and post-construction jobs; and provide a better destination shopping experience for visitors and locals alike.


The Lewes project being brought back to litigation by Lingo will not do as much good, and will just exacerbate traffic congestion in the Five Points area plus east/west/north/south of there.


The Overbrook project simply turns a 114 acre cornfield into superb destination shopping. Our citizens and elected officials should support this option as it has the potential to bring retailers like Macy's, Kohl's, Target, Wegman's et al to Sussex County.  

Posted by: Barry Wayne Price | Aug 12, 2014 17:21

I do not approve of Overbrook Mr. Austin. I reckon I hate to see that kind of development creep into the countryside beyond the resort area. Urban sprawl is something we have an opportunity to limit and control in Sussex. The north part, and a lot of central Delaware has been overdeveloped, and it has affected the quality of life for everyone who lives there. DelDOT, and the legislature has not been able accommodate the increase in populations, nor have they tried very hard. That to me is irresponsible, and merciless. In fact they have been inept. What makes you think they will succeed here? Look at Route One from Lewes to the Inlet. Would you consider that a success? There is little open space left in the coastal zone. We should be preserving it rather than developing what is left. Route One needs to be NO access from Nassau Bridge to Dover with only overpasses rather than traffic lights which destroy the flow of seasonal traffic. If you don't believe me then go to Magnolia on any given summer day. The backup is to the toll booth on Route One, and then some. Go to Thompsonville Road north of Milford. The backup can be up to fifteen miles to Fredrica or beyond. Why should Route One be the road for this kind of development? We need to maintain it as a quick, and safe delivery system for South Coastal Delaware. We want our visitors to arrive safely and happy. Our economy depends on it, and has for many, many decades. Infrastructure and new roads, as well as smart PLANNING should be advanced in order to accommodate this sort of massive development. Anyone who agrees with me please make a comment. That is all.

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