Selbyville Towne Village gets first approvals to dig (ditches)

Selbyville Towne Village is the next major housing development revving up along Route 54. The project has changed several times since first proposed over a decade ago, before the “Great Recession.” Now, developers are taking baby steps to at last get shovels in the ground for some basic ditch digging.

The 90-acre farmland site is located on the southwest side of Route 54 (Lighthouse Road) and Hudson Road.

The new site plans have not been submitted for town council approval, but they are collecting agency approvals and permits. Developers envision 182 housing units, including 120 some single-family homes and 53 multi-family units, with a commercial shopping center (construction phase one would include 35 singles and eight multis).

Because the project will take a long time, the developer requested to start moving soil on-site. Lots of dirt needs to be moved before construction begins on the old Dunn property. First, tax ditches must be in place, some being relocated or new ones dug. These are court-ordered changes to the Bunting Tax Ditch area. Owners hope to take advantage of summer’s dry weather for digging, and they’re just waiting for a judge to sign the order, any day now.

“We’re just looking to move earth right now,” not build or install infrastructure, water or sewer, said Mark Davidson, an associate vice president for Pennoni Associates, an architectural and engineering company.

They also hoped to coordinate entrance construction with Delaware Department of Transportation’s Route 54 paving project this month.

The Selbyville Town Council unanimously approved moving of soil (with Jay Murray absent). For now, the project shouldn’t affect a nearby Selbyville sewage pump station.

After the P&Z Commission frowned upon proposals to also build a FORGE Youth & Family Academy, the owner eliminated the youth center from his plans and moved forward. (FORGE has since found a new home in Pittsville, Md.)

In other Selbyville news:

• The town council unanimously approved the initial and final site plan, plus changes to the actual parcel, at the former Food Rite on Main Street. Leimbach Investments has demolished the car wash to build an 8,000-square-foot carpet business. The thrift shop and Food Rite buildings will remain. 

Behind the roadside property, zoned historic business district, the second Leimbach property is zoned residential. After Selbyville completes the Town’s 10-year Comprehensive Plan update, Leimbach will request to change the zoning and then merge the two lots as historic business.

For now, the town council also OK’d zoning the property line between the two parcels to be shifted about 67 feet eastward, to allow for building with appropriate setbacks.

• Bid specifications have arrived for replacement of the Sandy Branch culvert, which began noticeably collapsing under Railroad Avenue three years ago. The Town will prepare to accept bids for repairs.

The next Selbyville Town Council meeting is Monday, Aug. 6, at 7 p.m.

By Laura Walter
Staff Reporter