Sussex P&Z delays votes on Vintners Reserve

Sussex P&Z delays votes on Vintners Reserve

The Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission has delayed the processing of two applications for Vintners Reserve, a proposed 316-unit townhouse development set in 61 acres on Janice Road, near Lewes.

Applicant Janice CRP3 LLC of Owings Mills, Maryland, is requesting a change in the county’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan from the current commercial designation to a coastal area where residential development is permitted and a redesignation of AR-1, Agricultural Residential, to MR-RPC, planned medium-density community that allows for high-density residential development.

Commissioner Kim Hoey Stevenson said the property was better suited to commercial development than residential.

She said the future land use map was correctly named. “We’re getting an influx of development with 50,000 vacant lots in the county and residents will need services. This is the right place for commercial purposes,” she said, adding that people who need services such as medical facilities must be taken into account.

“I’m not ready to propose,” she said. “I would like to postpone the further examination.”

After some discussion, the commission voted unanimously to postpone a vote to a later meeting.

Commission chairman Bob Wheatley said the property is bordered on two sides by residential development. “It’s not right off the freeway. I’m not sure it would be the ideal commercial site,” he said.

Hoey Stevenson said the use of Janice Road will be changed to an arterial road for access to New Road and Lewes when the Route 1-Minos Conaway split level interchange project is completed. “People don’t have to cross Route 1 to get into Lewes on this side road,” she said. “We should have thought about something like this 30 years ago.”

Assistant District Attorney Vince Robertson said he would forward the plan for improvements to the Minos Conaway-Route 1 intersection to commissioners for review.

She and Commissioner Holly Wingate said a mixed-use residential and commercial project would be better suited for the package.

County Planning & Zoning Director Jamie Whitehouse said mixed use is permitted in Commercial Zone C-4.

“But that’s not what’s ahead,” Wheatley said. “I’m not particularly against it, but it doesn’t sound like we have unanimity at this point.”

Commissioner Keller Hopkins said county officials should give serious consideration to this package and all others north along Route 1 as important residential areas. “We need to get off our country roads,” he said.

The property is owned by AAA Storage Limited Partnership LLC. Dating to the 1960s, part of the property was used as a lending pit for Route 1 construction.

The 61-acre property is nestled between Lewes Fire Department Station 2, Nassau Valley Vineyards and Whispering Pines Crafted Home Park.

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