Condos construction may start in summer

By Lynn R. Parks

Construction of 48 condos along the Nanticoke River in Seaford could start as early as the end of the summer. Riverplace Condominiums, on Water Street at the foot of S. North Street, will include 25 boat slips and a boardwalk along the river. The entire 2.5-acre community, including the boardwalk, will be gated. There will not be any public access to the community. The Seaford City Council gave its final approval to the project after a public hearing Tuesday night. Site and building permits will be issued after final permits are received from the state and from the Army Corps of Engineers. Ed Launay is president of Environmental Resources Inc., a Salisbury, Md.-based firm which has been helping developer Chris Davis obtain necessary permits. Launay told the city council that state and Army Corps permits have been OK'd, but are still awaiting final signatures. City director of operations Charles Anderson said that he expects the city to have the final signed permits in hand in two to three weeks. Federal and state permits were required for construction of the boat slips and for replacement of some of the existing bulkhead, which is wood, with vinyl bulkhead. In addition, the development requires a state permit for lease of subaqueous lands, or the land under the river. That lease will permit construction of the boat slips. The boat slips will range from 29 feet to 41 feet in length. Launay told the council that the slips will not occupy as much of the river as is permitted under state law. Under state law, construction in a navigable waterway can obstruct no more than 20 percent of the waterway, as measured at mean low tide. Launay said that the Riverplace piers take up no more than 15 percent of the waterway. The Nanticoke there is about 250 feet wide. "Both the state and the Army Corps of Engineers look carefully at any impacts on navigation," Launay said. "This was all pretty carefully reviewed."

Construction of the community will include relocation of the existing city fishing pier, which is at the foot of S. North Street, in the middle of what will be the condo complex. The developer will move the pier so that it sits next to Market Street, just to the east of the Nanticoke River bridge. A sidewalk will lead to the pier from the city's Riverwalk, on the other side of Market Street. A public canoe launch at the end of Water Street will remain where it is. Architect Mike Wigley with David, Bowen and Friedel, Salisbury, told the council that the first floors of the two, four-story condo buildings will be about 7 and ? feet above the mean high water level. The boardwalk will be about 5 and ? feet above mean high water, and a wall on the land side of the boardwalk will be 7 and ? feet tall. "We are going above and beyond what would be required to protect against a 100-year flood," he said. During the permitting process with the city, which took more than two years, the project received two variances from the city's board of adjustment. One was to allow the four-story construction (city code limits buildings to three stories) and the other was for high population density. The city also agreed to abandon S. North Street, from Water Street south to the river. After the road was closed, the land on which it sat was turned over to Norma Conaway, who owned the two pieces of property on either side of the road. That allowed Conaway to sell the properties to Davis as one. Conaway was required to provide the city an easement for a stormwater drain that runs through the property. She was also required to grant an easement to Verizon for a telephone trunk line that crosses the river at that spot.

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