Jusst Sooup Ministry and Rev. Dale Dunning Can’t Serve Soup at Extreme Makeover Home Edition Ranch in Lewes
Jusst Sooup Ministry can’t dish out soup at its new ranch, but the Rev. Dale Dunning won’t rest on her ladles.
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Several people spoke in support of the application at the Oct. 3 hearing. Brooks Freeman, who helped build the ranch and provide security, likened Dunning to Mother Teresa.
But several locals worried a soup kitchen would attract sexual predators, former prisoners, the mentally ill and criminals. Many said it would be better located elsewhere, perhaps closer to police or city services.
“What type of people are they feeding?” asked John Doerfler. “It’s too much of a gamble. The next thing you know, we’re going to have them sleeping in the woods.”
Others at the meeting said approvals were rushed in order to satisfy the needs of a television show. “For the glamour of TV, the risk in Cool Spring has increased 100 percent,” said Mark Leishear. “The show is gone. The cameras are gone. The buildings are built. Now, it’s time to sensibly govern the land-use permissions for this area.”
Leishear told the board that a study of Delaware homeless people showed that 31 percent had abused substances, 34 percent had no income, and 38 percent had been jailed at one time. “I’m not willing to spin the roulette wheel,” said his wife, Kelly Leishear.
Seven people opposed Dale Dunning’s application and 13 supported it.
According to resident Brenda Hudson, who lives next to the property, bad things can happen anywhere. She’s not concerned. It upset her that many of those in opposition said they “support the Dunnings, but not in my backyard. If not in your backyard, then whose?” she says.
The Board of Adjustment voted 5-0 not to allow the special use exception. Members said the application would have been better suited as a zoning change or a conditional use application.
Members added that the new home did not meet the definition of a home occupation because the definition that came closest was that of a restaurant, which is not permitted under the code. “It’s more akin to a restaurant than to anything else under a home occupation,” said Ronald McCabe, then a board member.
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