Brittingham Property /Lewes Waterfront Preserve

Lewes, We Have a Problem: The History of the Annexation of the Brittingham Property

On November 13, 2018 The Mayor of Lewes and City Council voted to approve annexation of a 34 acre parcel on Canary Creek, which is under contract between the Brittingham family (seller) and Setting Properties/Joe Setting (buyer) . The  newly created zoning category allows attached dwellings and high density under its' cluster options.  The annexation and zoning categories were protested by many citizens in writing and at public hearings.

The developer held a meeting with residents to unveil his "villas", even though he had no architectural plans. The site plan shown confirmed the communities fear of densely packed townhomes along the canary creek wetlands and backs of 3 story townhomes facing New Road at the Canary Creek.

Since that meeting Mr. Setting has stated that he won't be the builder, so we are not sure if he is going to develop this parcel or sell it. He may just be getting the approvals to flip the deal!

In December, the developer filed his application with that state land use (PLUS). This application confirmed the intent to overdevelop this parcel with 90 townhomes, which is not compatible with New Road or adjacent single-family neighborhoods. 

Meanwhile, Sussex County Council passed legislation to exclude tidal wetlands from density calculations for number of new homes.  

Citizens urged the City of Lewes to adopt the same calculation for the new annexation zones, as they have been designed to be competitive with Sussex County zoning. Despite opposition from Council members Fred Beaufait and Dennis Reardon,  the MCC scheduled a workshop to discuss the wetlands calculation for January 10, 2018. Beaufait fought this claiming that it was unfair to the Brittingham developer to change zoning after the parcel had already been annexed. Citizens maintained that it wasn't fair to offer less restrictive zoning than would be offered if property was in Sussex County jurisdiction. 

An  Executive MCC session was held in Lewes on January 7, 2018. The publicly posted agenda did not mention Brittingham or Annexation, and we paid no attention to the meeting. We were shocked to find out that the MCC voted to EXEMPT THE BRITTINGHAM PARCEL FROM ANY AMENDMENTS TO THE ANNEXATION ZONING! This occurred 3 days before the scheduled workshop on this topic.

City Manager Response:

We attended the lively workshop on January 10th and will be adding details. Scroll down for plan details and suggestions for citizen input. We will be having a meeting to discuss this with the community. 

2/20/19 UPDATE: Lewes Waterfont Preserve presented to Lewes Planning Commission

The meeting was well attended for an inclement night in Lewes!

Jim Fuqua, our most frequent developer's attorney,  represented Setting Properties and spoke for them. He tried to introduce the idea that arguments against townhomes and density being out of character are not relevant. He maintained that because townhomes and density are permitted in the new AX-Res zoning code,  there should be no argument. 

From our perspective, city code is city code and that guides the process. The Lewes Planning Commission looks at 22 points for consideration of subdivision. They are in this section of code and referenced in the Power Point I am attaching.

We feel that many of these conditions are not met and that there are serious issues that the Lewes Planning Commission needs to consider before approval of the subdivision. See our presentation in the next section by downloading the Power Point. 

Fortunately, the LPC is a pragmatic and intelligent group. They had many initial questions and informed the developer of the procedure they would follow, which starts with a scheduled site visit and walk around where they can ask questions about the plan while viewing the land where it will be built. This will be followed by a public hearing. STAY TUNED FOR THOSE MEETING DATES! 

We presented our initial concerns. Scroll down to see our presentation. 

Final detail is that the developer,  Joe Setting,  did not speak, offered no more details about the architecture or design, no renderings of the development or townhomes were presented, and no mention was made of who would actually develop the property. We know from a previous comment by Joe Setting that it will not be him, as he responded that he wouldn't be building the units when asked about design at another meeting. THAT is important for citizens to know. 

All submitted plans can be viewed on the City of Lewes planning page. You can leave your comments for the Lewes Planning Commission here, so please do!


Nick Roth photo of Brittingham Property

Nick Roth photo of Brittingham Property

Our Concerns & Presentations to Local Officials

What Can Citizens do?


Write To The City of Lewes

Stakeholders should contact the Lewes authorities who will be the decision makers for the project. 

Let your representatives know how you feel and share your concerns. The personal impacts of this development on your property, property value, and quality of life are important! You can also offer specific suggestions and ideas.

First, review the plans the developer has submitted and submit your comments to the city planning office here:


Mayor & City Council

City Manager's Office

Lewes Planning Commission

Attend Meetings and Speak up!

The first meeting about the "Lewes Waterfront Preserve" is on 2/20/19. It will be followed by a public hearing and additional meetings. All meeting are held at Lewes City Hall at 114 E. Third Street in Lewes.  

If you want a voice you should attend. If you can't attend be sure to submit your comments in writing (see above). 

These pages are updated often, so check them regularly! 

City of Lewes Calendar lists ALL meetings:

Here is where the Planning Commission Meetings are listed and you can click on agendas:

Here is the link for Mayor and City Council Meetings and agendas: 

AND check our MEETINGS PAGE We try to update and post details for upcoming meetings. 

Write a Letter to The Editor

The Cape Gazette prints letters to the editor and they are widely read, both in print and online. 

Submit your letter (650 words or less) via email to

More details:


Spread the Word!

Talk to your neighbors. Buddy up and attend meetings together.

Follow us on Facebook and share our posts. Invite friends to like our page.

Share this website via email with friends who don't use Facebook. 

Put a Yard Sign in Your Yard

Stay tuned. Details are coming.



Applications & SitePlans

Latest Site plan January 2019

City Of Lewes

Here is the planning page for Brittingham/ Lewes Wetland Preserve. You can, and should give input! PLEASE FILL OUT FORM AT THE BOTTOM AND GIVE COMMENTS.