Council defers action on Plantations Rd. plans

by Michael Short on September 30, 2010

Sussex County Council took no action on a planned  three building office complex proposed for Plantations Road at its Tuesday, Sept. 28 meeting.

Council held a public hearing on Tuesday afternoon on the project to be built by Double R Holdings LLC on a three acre parcel. Sussex County Planning and Zoning had deferred action on the project after a Sept. 9 hearing.

The Planning and Zoning Commission makes a recommendation on such requests and then Sussex County Council votes either yes or no. Because the planning commission had made no recommendation, the council took no action.

Plans call for three 8,100 square foot buildings with 66 parking spaces. Proposed hours are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Attorney Jim Fuqua said it’s an ideal location for medical offices because it is so close to Beebe Medical Center’s Route 24 complex.

Fuqua said those hours are maximum hours and that the offices may not be open for that long a period. There will be no Sunday hours allowed.

The project drew criticism from four local residents, all of whom complained about traffic on Plantations Road.  A proposal to include possible Saturday hours was also opposed by at least one resident.

Speakers said there is no need for more medical offices because of current vacant office space in the Beebe Medical Center Complex on Route 24. They argued that traffic can back up during the summer and that drivers take short cuts through developments like Sandy Brae, leaving litter and hard feelings in their wake.

Council took no action on the proposal, but did decide to leave the record open. That’s because the project cited a 2002 traffic study, prompting some concern that it may need to be updated.

Despite the 2002 date, Delaware’s Department of Transportation said as recently as last year that it would issue an entrance permit for the planned office complex. At Councilman George Cole’s urging, the council voted 3-2 to leave the record open to allow DelDOT to provide any input about the traffic study and whether it needs to be updated or not.

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