One month after Sussex County Council voted down the controversial Overbrook Town Center proposal, developers have announced new plans to build over a hundred single family homes on the 114-acre parcel of land on Route 1 near Lewes.
Council voted 3-2 against the proposal that would've allowed developer TD Rehoboth LLC to construct a shopping center on the land located along Cave Neck Road and Route 1, just north of Lewes.
On May 23, officials with TD Rehoboth LLC presented plans to the Delaware Office of State Planning Coordination Preliminary Land Use Service (PLUS) for Overbrook Meadows West, a proposal that seeks to build 105-single family homes on 50 acres on the southeast corner of Route 1 and Cave Neck Rd.
Unlike the previous proposal for the Overbrook Town Center, the new proposal requires no commercial zoning. A change that Sussex County Councilman Sam Wilson said will cost the state millions.
"It's going to cost the state about $8 million," said Councilman Sam Wilson who explained how the developer had planned to give the state $8 million as part of the previous proposal to upgrade the intersection where the Overbrook Town Center would have been located.
No commercial zoning is required with the new proposal, a feat that never came to fruition with the prior proposal and isn't needed now as the land is located in a AR-1, agricultural residential district.
Councilman Sam Wilson stood by what he said when he voted in favor of the proposal for the Overbrook Town Center. "The one thing that sticks in my mind above all things is property rights. If you have a piece of property, you ought to have some rights to it."
When Gaffney asked Councilman Wilson how he thinks his fellow council members will feel about the hundreds of homes that could potentially be built as a result of the new proposal, he said "I think they're just concerned about how to get votes next time. I think that's the main goal."
When asked if he's ever witnessed behind the scenes political pressure, Councilman Wilson said "I see it all the time."
Council President Mike Vincent was the deciding vote in the Overbrook Town Center proposal. He ultimately voted no and said, while he felt there was a need for more commercial property in the county, once you change the zoning code to commercial, there's no changing it back.
"I do think there's a need for commercial property in the right location in the county, and maybe some place on Route 1 could be the right place to have it, but 2,800 feet deep," Councilman Vincent said. "114 acres is a large piece of land and once you change that to CR-1 it's changed forever, you can't take it back, you can't undo it, it's not a conditional use. So, for those reason, my vote is no, motion denied."
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