The second, court-ordered public hearing on the Overbrook Town Center change of zone application is underway in the Sussex County Council chambers. Attorney Jim Fuqua spoke for the developer, TD Rehoboth, LLC. Much of his comment reflects on what was brought up during the first public hearing in 2016, however the developer has opted to redesign the 114-acre parcel to include a downsized commercial shopping center and include a sub-division of 135 single family lots. However, the change of zone application still pertains to the full 114-acre parcel.
While there have been changes made by the state on the investment level – that refers to possible state funding included in the project – specifically for a proposed overpass, but it does not refer to land use. And according to the county’s 2008 Comprehensive Plan, which puts this property in a growth zone – this application complies with the county’s land use plan.
County Attorney Everett Moore told the Council that while all the information that was included in the first public hearing in 2016 is to be included in the consideration, three letters in opposition were read into the record at the start of the public hearing, including one from State Secretary of Agriculture Michael Scuse. Moore also told the Council that the downgraded investment level which was made by the state after the first public hearing, but before the County Council vote, is now part of the public record.
Only one member of the public, spoke in favor of the change of zone application. Dan Kramer of Greenwood told the council that the developer has every right to build on the site on Route 1 in the area of Cave Neck Road north of Lewes and that if the vote was put to a public referendum, it might very well pass.
The opposition will present its testimony to the County Council after the lunch recess – beginning at 1:45pm.
UPDATED – 5:30pm – Members of the OTCC spoke after the lunch recess on their opposition to the proposed change of zone, along with the owners of two neighboring farms who say they would be greatly impacted with any sort of large scale commercial development – or whatever developer TD Rehoboth, LLC would end up putting on the property.
Members of the public spoke about traffic problems, especially in the area of Cave Neck Road and into Milton, the numerous stories across the country of the death of shopping malls, the county’s agriculture history. And all the testimony that was presented two years ago remains as evidence from the public as well. Archie Holden of Milton was the last to speak and told Councilmen Mike Vincent, George Cole and Sam Wilson, “The reasons you denied it two years ago, still apply today.”
The public hearing adjourned just before 5:30pm with the council deferring a vote in order to go over the many hours of public comment from today – and from two years ago. The council must vote to approve or deny the change of zone within 30 days now that the record of the public hearing has been closed.