Selbyville approves development exceptions

The Selbyville Town Council last week approved three exceptions in the final layout of Lighthouse Lakes, a new development on Route 54 with 302 total units (222 single-family units and 80 duplex units).

Although the density of the overall project would remain unchanged, the market demands that the duplex properties be a bit smaller than the town code requires, said Randy Duplechain of Davis, Bowen & Friedel Inc., which is designing the neighborhood.

Duplexes in the community will be composed of two 40-foot-wide houses, connected on the side, both 50 feet deep, with an attached garage on the outer side of each. The Town’s Planning & Zoning Commission had already recommended approval of the exceptions.

Selbyville’s town code demands a 14,400-square-foot lot, at least 120 feet wide. The duplexes will now be on lots of 12,750 square feet, at 102 feet wide.

There is “just not a need” for more, Duplechain said.

The buffer between each set of homes will be 25 feet, like the other single-family homes.

Additionally, the garages will have a smaller setback, provided there are some extra aesthetics related to the garage doors. Each garage and driveway will still hold a total of four cars.

The approval of the exceptions comes on the heels of last month’s amendment to town code, which allows the town council to consider community designs that don’t follow town code to the letter. A developer is supposed to prove that relaxing the Planning & Zoning Code is in Selbyville’s best interest before the council will approve an exception.

The goal is to entice more creativity and more development in Selbyville.

“It’s probably one of the better projects we’ve seen in some time,” said Councilman Rick Duncan. “It’s going to be an asset to the town.”

In other Selbyville news:

• A recent arrest helped local police recover much stolen property from a string of recent thefts (mostly of unlocked cars and storage). People who think they may be victims should report missing items, as a large number of goods was recovered, Police Chief W. Scott Collins said.

• The Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce has offered to host Old Timer’s Day this summer, Town Manager Bob Dickerson announced. Although the Chamber is waiting for final board approval, it broached the subject with Dickerson. The Chamber hosted the festival and car show years ago, when it was still located in Selbyville, he added.

It costs Selbyville about $6,000 to host the event, partly because of Town employee time. But the Chamber can do much with volunteers.

“I think it’s good for the town,” Councilman Frank Smith said.

Last year’s Old Timer’s Day was canceled due to personal issues involving the main organizers.

Councilman Clarence “Bud” Tingle Jr. and Mayor Clifton Murray agreed that the Town should still contribute time and police effort.

• Natural gas is flowing toward Selbyville. Homeowner’s associations should contact Chesapeake Utilities if they’re interested in learning more. It’s heading down Route 54, and will likely go to the schools on Route 20.

• March will once again be Kids Art Month in Selbyville, hosted by Selbyville Community Club at the library and areas around town.

“I encourage all my comrades to come out and see it. Some of the artwork they do, it’s unbelievable for the age,” said Mayor Murray.

“The pure enjoyment those kids get out of being recognized for their art … it’s good for the whole town,” said Dickerson.

• The town tax rate will remain unchanged in the coming year, at $1.85 per $100 of assessed value.

• Any private communities interested in getting more street lights can contact Delmarva Power for monthly rates.

• Bidding for a new town water filtration system is expected to begin in March. The air-stripping towers will help remove gasoline additive MTBE from the water.

• Replacing the Town’s holiday lights could have cost about $30,000, Dickerson said, but for just several thousand dollars, the Town stripped the tinsel and replaced the bulbs with LEDs.

The next regular Town Council meeting has been pushed back to Monday, March 16, at 7 p.m.