Highland acres annexation committee report
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ANNEXATION COMMITTEE REPORT
September 1, 2014
SUB-COMMITTEE REPORTS & MINUTES
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Highland Acres Annexation Committee
September 1, 2014
This report is a summary of the findings of the Highland Acres Annexation Committee which was
appointed at the July 14
meeting of Mayor & City Council. The City had earlier received a petition
from more than five residents of the development known as Highland Acres seeking annexation.
While the petition was found to be incomplete, the Mayor & City Council initiated annexation on its
own authority at its July 14, 2014 meeting, establishing the Annexation Committee. Accordingly,
annexation has been properly initiated under the City Charter.
The committee’s charge was to review the
feasibility of possible annexation of Highland Acres and
to offer a recommendation to the Mayor & City Council as to whether or not to proceed with the
Mayor Becker appointed Councilpersons Morgan, Osler, and Reardon to the Annexation Committee
and Deputy Mayor Beaufait to serve as chair of the committee. In order to expedite the work of the
committee, four sub-committees were formed with each chaired by a council member.
Prior to the July M&CC meeting, the General Manager of the Board of Public Works held a public
meeting with residents of Highland Acres to review the potential costs of upgrading the street within
the development to required City standards and the installations of the water, sanitary sewer, fire
hydrants, and connecting water and sewer lines to the homes. It was projected that the cost per
resident could be as much as $40,251.
It is noted that Highland Acres was part of the City of Lewes until it was removed from the City in
the late 1950s. Currently the development depends, with a few exceptions, on individual septic
systems and wells. Unfortunately, a number of the septic systems are failing, have failed, or could
fail in the near future. Hence, the community is interested in being
brought back into the City.
Annexation Committee & Sub-Committees
The several sub-committees held individual public meetings during the month of August, 2014 and
submitted individual reports to the chair for reporting to the Annexation Committee. All meetings
were properly posted and open to the public. Each of the sub-committee meetings were well
attended by residents of Highland Acres and they were given the opportunity to speak.
The Annexation Committee met on Sept. 25, 2014 to receive the reports from the sub-committees.
It was determined that each sub-committee had received sufficient information, along with
comments from the public, that no additional meetings would be required for the sub-committees or
the Annexation Committee. The Sub-Committee reports are to be found attached to this summary.
The sub-committee assessed the capabilities and costs of the Lewes Police
Department, the Lewes Fire Department (providing for both fire service and EMS), the Streets
Department (providing trash collection and street maintenance), and the City (contracting for
collection of yard waste and recycle materials, and maintaining administrative staff) to provide the
appropriate services to the residents of Highland Acres and found that these services would not be
impacted adversely by the annexation of the development.
water supply and septic systems for sewage treatment. A number of the septic systems have failed
or are in the last stages of their useful life. Once a septic system fails it cannot be replaced with a
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like system. In addition, before the development can be annexed into the City, the streets within the
development must be brought up to City standards. Storm water is currently taken care of within
the development and not an issue that needs to be addressed. The Board of Public Works currently
provides electric service to Highland Acres and has the capacity to provide water and sewer
services once the appropriate infrastructure is in place. The Board of Public Works has provided
the residents of Highland Acres a cost estimate of upgrade of the streets and the construction of the
water and sewer infrastructure.
in all but name. Moreover, the annexation of Highland Acres is consistent with the City of Lewes
current Comprehensive Plan. It is the recommendation of the Zoning Sub-Committee that Highland
Acres be zoned R-1. While this zoning will result in a number of nonconforming lot sizes, this
nonconformity should not cause any problems for the home owners.
addition there is one 50 foot wide plot of ground belonging to LTD partnership. It was determined
that the annual income the City would likely realize from the annexation of Highland Acres would be
sufficient to cover recurring cost of services that the City would be required to provide and
contribute to the general operation of the City.
During several sub-committees hearings, residents of Highland Acres expressed concern regarding
the idea that a connector street might be constructed connecting the proposed Highland Heights
development with Highland Acres via the 50 foot wide lot that exists in Highland Acres and is
adjacent to the proposed Highland Heights development. It was clear that the residents in
attendance did not want to have this connection developed. It was the opinion of the residents of
Highland Acres that such a connection would bring unwanted increased traffic to their
neighborhood, would add to traffic congestion at the intersection of Sussex Drive and Savannah
Road, and the increase in traffic would be a real concern for the elementary school located on
Sussex Drive which utilizes facilities on both sides of the street.
A second issue for the residents is the cost for installation of the water and sewer infrastructure and
up-grade of the street to City standards. This cost per household was estimated at a maximum of
While there are a number of advantages and disadvantages associated with the annexation of
Highland Acres to both the City and Highland Acres, it is the opinion of the Annexation Committee
that the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. For example,
Where the residents of Highland Acres currently have to contract and pay for trash, recycling
and yard waste, these services are provided for by the City.
Would reduce truck traffic within the development.
Residents would no longer have to maintain separate water wells and septic systems. The City
would be providing these utilities.
Once the streets are upgraded to City standards, the City would be responsible for maintenance
and snow removal.
As part of the City, residents would have the right to participate in elections for City Council,
hold elective office as well as appointive positions within the City government, and have a voice
in City government.
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Would be provided increased police services by the Lewes Police Department.
The City of Lewes would be receiving taxes that would cover the cost for the numerous services
that it would be providing and contributing to the general operation of the City.
having to replace their system. This will not only be costly but difficult.
It may cost a maximum of $40,251 per household for construction of the water and sewer
infrastructure and the upgrade of the streets to City standards.
The residents will have to pay City taxes in addition to the current Sussex County taxes that are
The City will have to absorb the increase in the extended services to Highland Acres and in the
administrative work load that will be realized by the City.
The annexation of Highland Acres into the City of Lewes offers advantages to both the City and the
residents of Highland Acres that are
believed to outweigh the disadvantages. Based on the
information gained by the sub-committees, the City of Lewes and the Board of Public Works have
adequate resources to provide the services and meet the administrative demands that will be
realized upon annexation of Highland Acres. Hence, the Annexation Committee is recommending
to Mayor & City Council the annexation of Highland Acres into the City of Lewes.
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