Angola convenience store proposal is an inconvenience

Soon our Sussex County Council will vote on a conditional use application, affectionately known in the Angola area as CU2176, that would allow a 7-Eleven franchise to be built on the corner of Angola Road and Route 24. Let’s be clear, this is not a 7-Eleven (problem), it is a 24-7-365 inconvenience that we do not want or need.

The developer thinks we need this but do we? Within a five-mile radius, we have many gas stations, a new Wawa and Royal Farms to go along with a Valero, Shore Stop, Giant and Pep Up. So why are we in the Angola area so opposed to this?

Our biggest concern is the 7-Eleven will abut our 117-acre protected wellhead, our aquifer, Sarah’s Run, the source of our drinking water. One spill, one accident and we are in danger of losing that vital resource.

While there are safeguards in place for any station, we all have read about cars careening into gas pumps, below the shutoff valves, causing major gas spills. A web site, CU2176.com, outlines in detail the dangers this brings to our water, how little in the way of a spill could doom our vital water resource, how endangered our wetlands and inland bays are and how the daily spills of gas that occur as we pump gas can over time place us all in danger.

The corner in question is ill-suited for heavy commercial development. A gas station with 16 gas pumps and four diesel pumps will bring many tanker trucks to our local roads. DelDOT plans for the intersection, while great without the 7-Eleven and planned before the 7-Eleven, cannot handle the large trucks this station will bring. Traffic is already a nightmare and the many new housing developments planned close to this intersection will only bring more traffic.

We are concerned that first responders will have difficulty navigating this corner. Angola Road and Camp Arrowhead Road are country roads, not major roads with large shoulders, bike paths, bus lanes; they don’t even have lines down the middle because they are just not wide enough for that!! DelDOT, in a recent article, equated Route 24 with Route 1, calling both “major”. Route 24 may become major one day, but not until they add lanes to the Love Creek bridge and make it a four-lane road to Millsboro.

And why is a conditional-use application used now? Last December a request for rezoning from agricultural, AR1, commercial, C3, was denied by County Council, with George Cole voting no. Mr. Cole retired and has been replaced by Doug Hudson. So now we have an attempt to rezone via the conditional use process! Conditional use means the property can be remediated back to its original purpose. In this case, that cannot happen. Clearly this is an inappropriate use of a conditional-use application.

Residents of the local area have mobilized via meetings, petitions, phone calls, a protest in Georgetown, and many, many emails to local elected officials. There are now 14-plus communities in the Angola area involved with many residents working on a daily basis to gain support in any way they can. We have been told our voices are being heard, but will it matter?

We are up against a culture that says land can be sold as long as the use doesn’t hurt anyone, but who decides that? And what facts and metrics do they use to support no one being hurt?

OK, you are saying, how does this affect me and why should I care? Simply put, your corner could be at risk for inappropriate development and a conditional-use application may be used. So please contact your councilman and tell him no to CU2176. It doesn’t fit the area and the residents don’t want it. Check out CU2176.com; be prepared and be wary!

Judy Kane is a resident of the Lewes area.

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