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Overbrook developer files suit against Sussex

Cape Gazette of Lewes, Delaware

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Court to rule on request for new vote

The developer of the proposed Overbrook Town Center shopping complex has filed suit against Sussex County Council, stating three council members who voted against a rezoning application made statements not supported by the public record.

On June 8, TD Rehoboth LLC and Overbrook Acres LLC filed suit in the Court of Chancery requesting the "vote taken to deny the rezoning of the property should be permanently enjoined and a new vote ordered."

On April 12, county council voted 4-1 denying the Timonium, Md.-based developer's request to rezone a 114-acre parcel of farmland, along Route 1 at Cave Neck Road, from agricultural-residential, AR-1, to commercial-residential, CR-1, for an 849,000-square-foot shopping center, the largest commercial project ever proposed in the county.

On June 11, 2015, the planning and zoning commission had voted 3-2 recommending approval of the application.

According to the suit, at least one council member failed to adequately set forth reasoning for his vote, and at least two council members gave reasons for their votes that "were contrary to, or otherwise not supported by, the record."

"In voting against the rezoning, two council members relied on reasoning not supported, or in fact contradicted, by the record. A third council member recited all the reasons to favor rezoning before inexplicably stating that he would oppose it," according to the lawsuit.

Council members Joan Deaver, D-Rehoboth Beach; George Cole, R-Ocean View; Sam Wilson, R-Georgetown; and Mike Vincent, R-Seaford, voted against the application. Councilman Rob Arlett, R-Frankford, cast the lone vote in favor of rezoning the parcel.

According to the suit, the property for the proposed shopping center is in a growth area under the county's comprehensive land-use plan where new retail and office development is directed. According to county code, the proposed large-scale use can only be located on a major arterial roadway such as Route 1, the lawsuit states.

"The county has not yet seen the lawsuit, and cannot comment on pending litigation," said county spokesman Chip Guy.



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Original Publication Date: June 14, 2016



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