Sussex County rejects massive shopping center

    Sussex County Council votes against a massive commercial shopping complex near Cape Henlopen High School.

    Sussex County Council members defeated a proposed that would have allowed construction of a 320,000 square foot shopping center near Lewes.

    The proposed Townsend Village Center is off the table after council’s 3 to 2 vote against changing the property’s zoning from agricultural to commercial.  Councilwoman Joan Deaver opposed the project from the beginning.  “The proposed project is not compatible with the existing roadways in the area, and does not promote safe vehicular traffic on neighboring roads,” Deaver told other members of council before voting against the plan.

    Councilman Samuel Wilson voted for the development, and drew snickers from the crowd gathered in the chambers when he said there was no proof that traffic would increase.  “I can certainly see property rights in this issue, the man owns it.  He’s met all the zoning requirements.”

    Councilman Mike Vincent, who was seen as the swing vote, decried the process and actions of both supporters and opponents of the plan.  He said after listening to both sides, it seemed as if they were talking about different projects all together.  “I am very concerned about the effect on surface water recharge areas.  I think that wells for public drinking waters are something we must take all measures to guard,” Vincent said before announcing his vote against the proposal.

    The proposal was rejected even though it had been trimmed down from its original size, which would have been about half the size of the Christiana Mall.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.