Lewes to discuss Point Farm annexation at hearingPanel: Make 107-acre community part of city
Lewes — Lewes’ Point Farm Annexation Committee has recommended the city extend its boundary to include 107 acres for a proposed 69 single-family home development. Citizens will have an opportunity to weigh in about the annexation at a public hearing set for 7 p.m., Monday, Jan. 6, in City Hall.
Project owner J.G. Townsend Jr. & Co., working with developer Lingo Assets Management plans to build Point Farm on land that would be accessed from Park Road. The parcel is north of Canary Creek Villas, which is entered from Park Road, about a quarter-mile from its intersection with New Road.
The land is in unincorporated Sussex County and is zoned agricultural-residential.
The annexation committee, made up of city council members Ted Becker, Fred Beaufait, Bonnie Osler and Dennis Reardon, formed subcommittees to evaluate the effects of the proposed annexation on the city.
One subcommittee looked at city services such as police, trash, yard waste and recycling. Others looked at utilities such as water, sewer, stormwater management and providing electricity; finance, such as the potential to produce significant revenue; and zoning.
The zoning subcommittee found the development is within the desirable area for annexation, as defined in the city’s comprehensive plan, and is surrounded by city-owned lands or wetlands.
An application filed by the developer with the state’s Preliminary Land Use Service, states acreage of tidal and nontidal wetlands is not yet determined; wetlands have been delineated, but the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has not signed off on the maps.
The developer indicated the project would not have direct impact on wetlands so no wetlands permits should be necessary.
The application states ground disturbance would come no closer than about 25 feet from any wetlands, streams, wells or water bodies.
An undetermined amount of open space is proposed for recreation and stormwater management. The developer indicates it is not considering dedicating land for community uses such as police, fire or schools.
The application asks, “To your knowledge, is this site in the vicinity of any known historical/cultural resources or sites?” The “no” box is checked, and the same answer is given as to whether the site has been evaluated for historic and/or cultural resources. The developer indicated the site has not been evaluated, but it is open to an evaluation by the Historic Preservation Office.
In April, the developer met with city officials and was advised to learn what would be consistent with adjacent properties, the city’s Comprehensive Development Plan, city code and the city’s general planning scheme.
The panel determined R-1 zoning would generally apply to annexation of undeveloped land, but the Canary Creek Villas were not developed under the R-1 zoning classification. City officials also noted Point Farm would only be accessible using city-owned streets.
“Given the proximity of the Canary Creek development as well as the surrounding wetlands, the committee recommends that the Point Farm parcel be annexed in either R-3 or R-4 zoning classification, either of which would align the development with the adjacent Canary Creek development,” the subcommittee wrote in the executive summary.
The committee pointed out in the report that areas of concern not under its purview are the community’s proximity to wetlands and sea-level rise, and the possibility the site contains significant archeological artifacts.
“While the Office of State Planning’s Preliminary Land Use Service includes comments from the State Preservation Office indicating that there are no known historic or cultural resources on this parcel, there has been comment that such may exist.
It is recommended that the potential for such be further investigated prior to the approval of any final development plans,” the zoning subcommittee wrote.
The committee determined Point Farm’s proposed annexation offers advantages to the city and the developer that outweigh the disadvantages both might experience.
The panel determined that annexing the parcel promotes its connectivity to the city and ensures future homeowners that what is built will be included in future city development.
“Should annexation not occur, the location of this parcel will result in it being disconnected from the county who will have the responsibility of managing its development and yet it will not be part of Lewes,” the committee wrote.