Manufactured home park proposed for Route 16 parcelCaptain's Way project already approved for single-family homes
Georgetown — Developers of a project along Route 16 say they want to take their plans in a new direction. Instead of the approved single-family home subdivision, developer Pret Dyer is proposing a manufactured-home park.
Captain's Way Development LLC is requesting a zoning change from AR-1, agricultural-residential, to GR/RPC, general residential/residential planned community, for a 155-acre parcel that has already been approved as a 301-lot cluster subdivision. The parcel – located between Milton and Ellendale – also contains three acres of commercial land.
County council voted to defer on a decision awaiting a recommendation from the county's planning and zoning commission. Council also requested a list of potential uses for the commercial section of the parcel.
During an Oct. 9 county council public hearing, developer Pret Dyer stressed what he called the uniqueness of the proposed project. “Council has a unique opportunity here to meet the letter of its comprehensive plan for affordable workforce housing by converting an existing cluster ordinance into a manufactured home community,” Dyer said.
Dyer said the parcel has access to public transportation on DART bus route 303; is surrounded by other single- and double-wide manufactured homes; is located on Route 16 or Beach Highway, a major east-east roadway; and the project would maintain the superior design elements required under the cluster ordinance with regard to open space, buffers, wastewater and stormwater, and design and look of the park.
The approved minimum lot size of 7,500 square feet would be retained under the proposed plan, Dyer said. The park would allow for home ownership on rented lots and would also provide leased lot-and-home packages. Setbacks between homes would follow State Fire Marshal's regulations.
The developers have offered 26 acres of the parcel as a donation to The Nature Conservancy to serve as a 100-foot buffer between the community and adjoining properties.
Sewer and water service to the community would be provided by Tidewater Utilities with wastewater being pumped to the Town of Milton's treatment plant. Dyer said potential uses for the commercial area would include manufactured home sales, storage units and a convenience store.
Disputes claim about surrounding area
One nearby resident spoke in opposition to the application during the planning and zoning and county council public hearings. John Herbert, who lives on Orchard Road and owns property adjacent to the parcel, disputed what Dyer said about the number of manufactured homes in the area. “It's not mostly manufactured homes,” he said, adding single-family homes dominate two of the roads near the parcel — Reynold's Pond Road and Orchard Road.
He said a nearby manufactured home park has 39 vacant lots. “I don't see the need,” Herbert said. “Putting this manufactured home park in an agricultural, conservation area is like putting a gas station in a cemetery,” he said.
Herbert was not happy about the original plans for a single-family home community, but he said that type of housing was more appropriate for the area.
Questions from county council
Scott Dailey, a partner in Captain's Way Development, said many Sussex residents can't afford traditional single-family housing but can afford manufactured housing. He said 25 percent of Sussex residents live in manufactured homes. According to U.S. Census data, more than 55 percent of those residents live on leased land.
Councilman George Cole, R-Ocean View, said, compared to a single-family housing community, the county will receive far less revenue in taxes and transfer fees from a manufactured home park.
Dailey responded that the need for decent, affordable housing should be one of the county's priorities. “You need to look out for the residents of Sussex County,” he said. Developers said the county's comprehensive plan includes the need for more affordable housing.
Cole also said he considers the location of the proposed community remote and not within easy access to where jobs are located.
Dailey said people have to live where they can afford to live as close to job opportunities as possible. “This is close to the resort area, and public transportation distinguishes this from other properties by providing interconnectivity to Dover, Milford and Georgetown,” he said.
Councilwoman Joan Deaver, D-Rehoboth Beach, asked the developers if the project was sustainable in today's market.
Dyer said he and his partners are confident a market exists and would be very sustainable into the future. He also noted that a partner in the Captain's Way Development group has experience managing manufactured home parks.