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Sussex approves applications for CVS project near Lewes

Cape Gazette of Lewes, Delaware

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The path has been paved for a new CVS pharmacy at the entrance to The Villages of Five Points in Lewes. With unanimous votes at its May 24 meeting, Sussex County Council approved rezoning and conditional-use applications needed for the project to proceed.

Council approved the developer's request for a zoning change to modify a previously approved condition requiring a 4-acre parcel of land near the entrance to the community be devoted to community use such as a library or museum

The developer wants to maintain community use on 2.5 acres and was granted a conditional use on the remaining 1.5 acres for a pharmacy at the corner of Savannah Road and North Village Main Boulevard.

The developer, Olde Towne Point LLC, has offered to donate

the 2.5-acre parcel to the Lewes Public Library, which is searching for a new location. If the library turns down the donation, the developer must donate the parcel to The Villages of Five Points Property Owners Association. According to a condition of the approval, that process must take place within 10 years. The approval also hinges on the sale of the 1.5 acres to JEMX LLC for construction of the CVS pharmacy.

With approval, council agrees the developer has exhausted every possible avenue over the past 10 years to secure a nonprofit agency to purchase the parcel.

The action went against the county planning and zoning commission's recommendation

for denial. The commission found that the entire parcel should remain as community use, as approved in the original application for the community.

Councilwoman Joan Deaver, D-Rehoboth Beach, said the decision was not an easy one, but overwhelming testimony from residents in support of the applications was hard to ignore. "A preponderance of evidence rests on the side of approval," she said.

Deaver also said a traffic signal at the nearby intersection helps to maintain traffic flow in the area.

"It's a well-thought-out plan for the benefit of the community," said Councilman Vance

Phillips, R-Laurel. "There was a tremendous outpouring of public support for this project, and this is a big step forward in the right direction," said Christian Hudson, Olde Towne Point managing partner.

He estimates CVS will provide roughly 75 construction jobs and about 30 permanent jobs.

Hudson said if Lewes library chooses to accept the Hudson family's offer, the donation of land would amount to about $5 million. "That will go a long way toward making the library's services more accessible to a broad swath of people in the urnincor-porated areas between Lewes, Milton and Rehoboth Beach. We're also thrilled at thte possibility of seeing this happen with a majority of private fuinds instead of taxpayer dollars," Hudson said.

Opponents argued there were enough pharmacies in the area -a new Walgreens opens this week on Savannah Ro ad and Cape Pharmacy is located in the Villages shopping area - and also expressed concerns about additional traffic in a congested area.

Council's decision hinged on advice from its attorney on the interpretation of the legality of a community covenant possibly

restricting the parcel to community use by a nonprofit group. At the May 24 meeting, county attorney David Rutt said he was satisfied the application was proper. "I have no problem with the application," he told council.

He said information from the applicant's attorney answered his questions.

Other conditions approved by council include: CVS has the option to operate 24 hours a day; if possible, deliveries should not occur during late-night or early-morning hours; the building must be screened from residential areas by landscaping; and the final site plan is subject to review and approval by the planning and zoning commission.

Original Publication Date: May 27, 2011



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