Seaford's zoning laws approval will allow apartment complex downtown

By Lynn R. Parks

The city of Seaford has approved new zoning laws that will permit the construction of a 72-unit apartment complex in downtown. The city council Tuesday night OK'd the zoning laws by unanimous vote.

The Residences at River Place are being planned for a piece of property that runs between the Nanticoke River and Water Street, east of Gateway Park.

As designed, the complex would not comply with the city's current requirements for construction in downtown. The buildings would be too tall. There would be too many units per building as well as too many units per acre and there would be too few parking spaces.

The complex would also be out of compliance with requirements regarding minimum unit size and maximum lot coverage.

At the Jan. 22 city council meeting, Eugene Bayard, with the Georgetown law firm Wilson, Halbrook and Bayard, representing the developer, asked the city to write a new zoning ordinance that would allow the project to proceed.

The new ordinance creates a mini-zone within the city's Riverfront Enterprise Zone.

That mini-zone will apply only to downtown properties that front the Nanticoke and on which are built multi-family residential buildings, including semi-detached homes, garden apartments and townhouses.

In the new zone, lot coverage can be up to 60 percent. Lot coverage in the rest of the Enterprise Zone can be 100 percent for residential buildings but is limited to 40 percent for non-residential buildings.

Buildings in the mini-zone can be 50 feet tall, or four stories, as opposed to the 35-foot, three-story limit in the rest of the zone. There can be only 25 dwelling units per acre and only 25 dwelling units per building. Below-ground apartments are not permitted.

The new ordinance also includes a provision for requesting a waiver from parking requirements as well as from size and lot coverage requirements.

The new zoning laws will be advertised by the city and will take effect 30 days after the date of that advertisement.

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