Lewes residents raise concerns over possible concrete crusher operation

LEWES, Del.-Some Lewes residents are saying that Howard L Ritter and Sons Inc. had been crushing concrete for years.

They told me the company was doing this without a conditional land use permit.

Something that Howard L Ritter and Sons Inc. said they didn’t know they needed.

“We were unaware that we needed it, it was brought to our attention in April, we have not crushed since April, since we were told and we are pursuing getting the permit,” Susan Ritter, Co-owner of Howard L Ritter and Sons Inc, said.

Now, that the company has put an application in to start that operation up again, residents are opposing it.

“I’m frankly appalled by the blatant disregard of our communities safety by this operator,” Ed Hennessy, a Lewes resident,¬† said.

Some saying it’s a health concern.

” I see these dust clouds rising up out of this, possibly filled with silica this is not good for our health,” Hennessy¬† said.

” I’m really concerned for my children cause they are going to be playing in the backyard just breathing this in,” Stephen Dunne, a Lewes resident, said.

One of the residents, who is moving into Maritima Community, which is an upcoming community next to the Ritter and Sons Inc, said there are other concerns like the environmental and traffic aspect; and that this type of operation needs to be in an industrial area away from residential communities.

” With all the construction trucks, you can expect a high volume of construction trucks heavy transport trucks just to make matter worse,” Dunne said.

When I told Ritter and Sons Inc. about resident concerns they said they never had official complaints in the past.

And claim the complaints didn’t start until the developer of Maritima began doing them in January.

“We feel like he’s trying to put us out of business because he’s having trouble seeking his lots over there, and we were here first and he knew we were here when he started that development over there,” Ritter said.

While residents do have concerns, and are making them public on social media and through a petition, Ritter and Sons Inc. said they are willing to work with them, even if that means moving the crusher to a different spot or putting in place other types of management practices.

“We are 100 percent willing to cooperate we are working to be compliant with what’s beings asked of and we are willing to make concessions,” Ritter said.

Howard L Ritter and Sons Inc says the developer of Maritima is supposed to put a forested buffer up between the two properties, which they say would help with some of the concerns like dust.

Scott Dailey, a Lewes based real estate developer and developer for Maritima, says there is a standard buffer that will be installed, and this is a standard subdivision requirement.

Dailey says what is happening on their property is hardly relevant to whether or not Ritter and Sons Inc. are operating lawfully.

A public hearing for Sussex County planning and Zoning commission is scheduled for June 24th at 5 p.m.

If you would like to sign the petition, you can click here.

Categories: Delaware, Local News