Dagsboro council reviews a slew of items

Dagsboro Town Council reviewed a whole sheaf of plans at the April 25 council meeting, but took no action, other than to postpone on the “lands now or formerly of the Kollock Family Limited Partnership” subdivision. (Council Member Jamie Kollock abstained from that action.)

John Murray of Kercher Engineering represented the applicants. He asked for a cluster overlay on 12.2 acres of residential land, east of Helm Street, north side of Route 26. The plan is for a 25-lot subdivision (single-family homes), with the entrance on Helm Street.

Murray noted open space at 32 percent of buildable area, a landscape buffer around the perimeter, improvements and mulched walking trails in the wetlands area

However, neighbors along Helm Street argued against another 50 cars emptying into their presently dead-end street.

According to Jane Carter, it was already difficult to get out onto Route 26. With the new Indian River High School slated to open next fall on Route 20 (that intersection is little more than 100 feet from Helm Street), she suspected it would only get worse.

Jim Bunting said the new subdivision would definitely affect his quality of life. “Wouldn’t you rather have a home on a street with no through traffic,” he asked. Bunting said there were a lot of children who played and rode their bikes out on that street.

There were a few other technical details, and planner Kyle Gulbronson (URS) said Murray might have to recalculate his open space depending on what kind of stormwater features they put in.

However, the comments from Helm Street residents appeared to create the largest sticking point. Council considered an alternate plan — capping Helm Street, turning it into a cul-de-sac on the west side of the new subdivision, with traffic flowing the other way, and out through the subdivision onto Route 26. That would alleviate traffic pressure on the long-time residents, and also move the entrance further away from Route 20.

Murray had earlier cited a letter from Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) officials, stating they would under no circumstances permit another entrance onto Route 26, when Helm Street existed so nearby.

He asked council to provide him documentation, under the town’s letterhead, if they wanted him to go back to DelDOT and ask them to consider this upside-down alternative, and council agreed to do that.

• Developer Frank Kea presented plans for Vine’s Creek Village — 52 lots-and-homes on 23 acres of land (Route 20), as a cluster development overlay. Kea had revised this plan — added landscaping buffer, took out dead-end streets. Gulbronson said he’d done a good job of addressing their earlier comments, and the project will move forward to public hearing next month.

• Murray stepped back to the easel to present the Cummings & Clark application for a pair of 20,000 square foot commercial buildings, on Route 26 (Clayton Street). It’s a 7.3-acre parcel, zoned highway-commercial. The proposed site would share an entrance with Mediacom, and the applicants tossed around the idea of phasing a third building of equal size at some future date. As it stands, there would be 304 parking spaces on the site.

• Again Murray, this time for the Village at Pepper’s Creek. This would be adjacent to the new Indian River High, on 42.2 acres of land. Murray forwarded the request for cluster development overlay, for phase one, 86 single-family homes. Gulbronson said the open space calculations were right on the edge of the 25 percent requirement, and he wasn’t sure if the plan met the intent of the cluster ordinance.

• Matthew Peterson of Element Design Group rolled out a very preliminary plan for the Landing of Pepper’s Creek, a high-density residential project on 39.4 acres (north of Clayton Street, just west of the railroad tracks). Peterson showed 336 multifamily units — six-condos buildings, four- to seven-townhouse units and some large, 18-unit condo buildings. Project density would be 9.2 units to the acre. As Gulbronson pointed out, there is a 10-unit max cap on single structures, so that will need to be addressed.

• In old business, council determined the Church of God application for annexation and rezoning was ready to proceed to public hearing (scheduled for the June meeting). The application is for a combination of highway-commercial (retail), high-density residential (senior housing) and residential, on 37 acres west of Route 113.

In other business, engineer Chuck Hauser (Davis, Bowen & Friedel) presented an alternative to the $3,000 impact fee for undeveloped lots that hook up to the town’s new water system after the one-year grace period expires.

Hauser said the town could consider imposing a minimum service charge instead, and could make out better or worse, depending on how soon or late the property owner decided to build. However, council voted unanimously to go with the impact fee.