Help Keep Lewes Safe and Livable
A group of out-of-town investors recently submitted its proposal to build a 34-home development on the last remaining natural forest in Lewes, between 4th Street ad Seagull Drive (within the area known as the “Fourth Street Extended woodlands”). While this project is not a done deal, if approved by the City Council as proposed, it will likely:
- Threaten property values and home insurance rates, by intensifying flood risk and exacerbating drainage problems
- Endanger public safety, by slowing emergency access to and evacuation from surrounding neighborhoods
- Degrade our natural environment, by destroying trees and displacing wildlife
What you can do: Become informed. Attend community meetings. Make your opinions known. Join your neighbors in positive action.
No doubt about it. What, where, and how we build will have an impact on Lewes for generations to come. We ALL need to be involved…
- Lewes Planning Commission Agenda – August 21, 2013
- Lewes Planning Commission Minutes – August 21, 2013
- Cape Gazette article “Lewes’ proposed Highland Heights raises questions” – August 27, 2013
- Lewes Parks and Recreation Commission Agenda – September 16, 2013
- Lewes Parks and Recreation Commission Minutes – September 16, 2013
- Cape Gazette article “Homeowners learn state of Lewes is busy” – October 14, 2013
- Lewes Planning Commission Agenda – October 18, 2013 Meeting
- Lewes Planning Commission Minutes – October 18, 2013 Meeting
Current Status – The developers are currently doing additional work on their proposal and SALL is tracking any further developments. There is a revised City ordinance for “Major Subdivisions” which establishes the process to be followed in requesting approval – see link below. The City will be publishing public guidance for that process, including public hearing requirements and opportunities for public input. We will provide a link as soon as this is available.
There is reference to Highland Heights in the existing Lewes Comprehensive Plan, approved by the State of Delaware, and which has the force of law, according to Delaware State Court decisions. We will be providing additional information on that, but the question of interpretation of that guidance is also germane. In particular, the Comprehensive Plan, on page 57, states ‘The City of Lewes Open Space Report also identified three privately owned parcels that were recommended for city acquisition in order to be preserved as open space. According to the report, “further development [of these parcels] for private use would dramatically and negatively alter the fabric of the communities wherein these parcels are located” (p.7). …• Fourth Street Extended woodlands and railroad bed’. See, also, page 83, under “High Priority“.
Of immediate relevance, the City Council has asked a group from the University of Delaware to prepare a revised Comprehensive Plan, which will need monitoring and review. In the report on The Lewes Scenic and Historic Byway, the map on page 8 clearly show s the proposed Highland Heights area as the green woodlands between the yellow, red, and darker blue routes noted as byways – thus constituting a major scenic feature of Lewes. For further reference, the cover of the report The City of Lewes Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaptation Action Plan shows the scope and scale of the Fourth Street Extended woodlands, in which Highland Heights is situated – covering 18.5 acres of almost 40 acres, or nearly half.
- City of Lewes Code – Revised Chapter 170 Subdivision and Land Development
- City of Lewes Comprehensive Plan
- The City of Lewes Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaptation Action Plan
- City of Lewes Planning Commission webpage (with links to rules and laws)
- City of Lewes Code Book (ordinances)
- University of Delaware Sustainable Coastal Communities Initiative
- Lewes Scenic and Historic Byways
- The Lewes Scenic and Historic Byway