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LEWES, Del.- Roughly 16 acres in between Savannah Road and Kings Highway could soon be split in order to house both seniors and the local workforce.

Company Ocean Atlantic is proposing 140 units on the property, which would include assisted living, independent senior living, memory care, and affordable housing. Developer Preston Schell says the workforce housing portion would be built “big house” style with ten units per two story building, like the housing in Paynter’s Mill. Schell says the idea was inspired by his own employees, and intended for people like police officers, teachers, and nurses.

“These are people that work in the general area but sometimes don’t have a profession that pays them enough money to afford to live in this area,” Schell says. “So they are living further west, and we are trying to get them to live closer to where they work to reduce  traffic and to really make it a more viable kind of mixed community.”

Lewes Mayor Ted Becker says the workforce housing component still requires approval (whereas a concept plan for the senior living portion was approved at Monday night’s meeting). However, he says city is moving forward with the idea, as it addresses a growing need.

“The project that we are talking about here is one that will enable people to purchase housing rather than only have rental options,” he explains. “So I think in the long run, it provides a more stable workforce once people are invested in it. It also helps them be better abled to be a stable employee for the operations of the businesses.”

Schell says elsewhere in the past, affordable housing units have been opposed by neighbors, but so far that has not been the case in Lewes. 

There is no word yet on when the city could approve the workforce housing concept.

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