Judge nixes council rezoning denial for huge shopping center

DOVER –A Chancery Court judge has invalidated a county council’s vote to deny a rezoning application for construction of the largest shopping center in southern Delaware.

Vice Chancellor Joseph R. Slights III ruled Friday that the votes of two Sussex County Council members cannot withstand judicial review. The council voted 4-to-1 last year to deny the rezoning application for the proposed 850,000-square foot Overbrook Town Center.

The judge said the rezoning application, opposed by neighboring landowners, must be resubmitted for a new public hearing and vote.

In his ruling, the judge said councilman Sam Wilson, R-Georgetown, did not state his reasons for voting against the application on the record.

The other “no” vote came from councilman Michael Vincent, R-Seaford. His vote based on potential impact on crop-dusting was arbitrary and capricious because crop-dusting restrictions would occur under the current zoning as well, the judge said.

TD Rehoboth LLC, of Maryland, had requested a zoning change from agricultural/residential to commercial/residential. The 114-acre parcel is located in Broadkill Hundred in the area of Del. 1 and Cave Neck Road.

Opponents of the proposed commercial/shopping center development celebrated last year when county Councilman Wilson, cast his vote for denial. Mr. Wilson’s was the third “no” vote and sealed the deal, following those by council colleagues Joan Deaver, D-Lewes, and George Cole, R-Ocean View.

Councilman Rob Arlett, R-Frankford, voted in favor of the request.

Prior to the council’s vote, the zoning change had received recommended approval from the Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission by a 3-2 margin.

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