I am writing in response to the article by Susan Canfora covering the Planning and Zoning hearing in the Coastal Point of April 2, 2021, dealing with Evans Farm. While I am sure the community appreciates the coverage provided in the article, I feel it is incomplete and need to address two points. The first is the need to address a quote attributed to me which was taken out of context, and gives the impression that the community opposes these apartments because of who the renters might be. I am also deeply concerned that a major issue in regard to traffic did not get the coverage it deserved.
After a career working to provide housing and access to employment to people with special needs in the community, including Sussex County, I can assure you I personally have no objection to apartments based on who the renters might be, quite the contrary. Further, as I stated that night the White’s Neck peninsula my community, White’s Creek Manor, and others such as Banks Acres, Denton Manor, Solitude and Bay Forest are located in is one of the areas most ethnically and socio-economically diverse communities. On the peninsula it is possible to find some of the most modest homes to some of the largest estates, ranging from $250,000 to multi-million-dollar home in today’s market. The homes themselves range from single wide manufactured homes to mansion sized stick-built houses. A number of these single-family properties are also rental at rents similar or in some cases less than the proposed community indicates it will charge The issue is not owner occupied vs rental. It is single-family homes which account for the vast majority homes on White’s Neck vs three story apartment buildings with garages that make the proposed community look more like commercial property than residential. We would not object to multifamily structures designed to blend into the community but the proposed buildings clearly will not.
When I made the comment about owners in Bay Forest having no reason to expect apartments in their backyards and the paper omitting the sentence before, where I had said unlike Bethany Bay where buyers knew apartments would be part of the mix and that other than from other homes in Bethany Bay were more than 850 feet from the nearest single-family home outside of that community it makes it appear as if I was advocating NIMBY-ism (Not in My Back Yard). I have spent more than 50 years of my life opposing NIMBY-ism I’m not abandoning that now. I also had pointed out in response to Mr. Hutt’s comment Bethany Bay was adjacent to Evans Farm, this was, to be polite, disingenuous at best. In fact, while it is true the Bethany Bay community does touch Evans Farm the nearest of the apartment buildings is more than three-quarters of a mile away behind a forest that is nearly a mile long and over 300 feet wide. Mr. Hutt’s comment, perhaps the community would be happier if the properties were condo and not rental was also rejected. The occupant is not the question, and should never be, the communities that have banded together to oppose this have never been concerned that Linder & Co. proposed rental vs ownership. Mr. Hutt’s offer was clearly trying to prove White’s Neck is an elitist community denying others access but as I say that is far from the truth.
Of equal, if not greater, concern, was a point raised by Mr. Goglia that was not fully explained in the article. He asked the Commission to ask DelDOT how they could assert a detailed traffic study was not required, when in a letter dated August 21, 2019, from DelDOT they had recommended a traffic study but a little less than two months later they withdrew that recommendation. This was disturbing given the newest data DelDOT has on the local roads on White’s Neck are seven-year-old traffic counts and some counts that they relied on are 20 years old. Given no new information between their original recommendation and the second it is reasonable to as why did the recommendation change? It is particularly troubling that in the time between the oldest data and now more than 3,000 homes had been built on White’s Neck, none of which seems to have been factored into DelDOT’s revised position. Apparently, the chair, Mr. Wheatley, also found the lack of current data puzzling. He did ask DelDOT about that but rather than answering his question, DelDOT evaded it. That is worth sharing with your readers.
I appreciate the difficulty reporters face in capturing all the nuances in a hearing such as this, so I do not write to find fault but simply to correct the record. My letter is simply offered to make sure all understand the context of what was quoted as having been said by me, it’s not about who will live at Evans Farm, it’s about whether the community design will be in keeping with its neighbors — it’s not, and that a question the Commission, on prompting from Mr. Goglia, asked of DelDOT, which remains unanswered.
President, White’s Creek Manor Property Owner’s Association