Councilmen Weiner & Cartier help Brandywine Little League to finally get approval to open concession stand - Community News
By Jesse Chadderdon
Posted May 13, 2010 @ 06:22 AM
A lot can happen in a week.
What started out as a something of a spat between the Brandywine Little League and New Castle County regulators ended with smiles and handshakes at a Tuesday meeting organized by Brandywine Hundred's two local councilmen.
At long last, the league had the go ahead to open up its concession stand.
The stand was closed for the first month of the season, as the league was unable to get a Certificate of Occupancy from the county because certain components of the site plan for the Naamans Road complex were incomplete.
That prompted an angry email from Vice President Dick Moore to county officials complaining not about having to meet the requirements, but about the fact that they were being communicated piecemeal to the league.
"Our frustration was that we're not a developer, we don't do this kind of thing all the time, and so it seemed like every time we did one thing, there was something else," Moore said.
"And from a parents' perspective, they're looking at it like 'we spent all this money on a building and we can't even open it up and sell hot dogs or a bottle of water?'"
The league spent $160,000 on the concession stand itself - which also includes a second floor conference room, a storage area and bathrooms. The entire project - which includes four fields and a parking lot - cost the league $1.2 million.
The land, formerly home to an old school, was donated by the state to the county as parkland, which in turn made it available to the league for a complex.
One incident that summed up Moore's frustrations involved the planting of 41 trees at part of the site's landscape plan. The county required a specific size tree, but the league was hoping to save money by planting a smaller version.
"Everyone we talked to at the county said that made sense, but nobody could tell me who the person was to approve it until finally we just [spent $13,000] on the regular trees," he said.
The day before the trees were to be delivered, Moore got a call from the county saying they had granted a waiver for the smaller trees. It was too late.
George Haggerty, the Land Use Department's second-in-command, told league officials at Tuesday's meeting that county code doesn't give any deference to "do-good" organizations over a regular applicant. At the same time, he conceded that the league's plan to deal with the few outstanding compliance issues was satisfactory enough to grant a Certificate of Occupancy.
"I'm not offering you a whole lot more than other folks who were this close to the finish line," he said. "This is about the best we can do according to the code."
Under the agreement, the league will be able to begin using the concession stand immediately as it addresses a few outstanding drainage and property maintenance issues on the site over the next month. The county will inspect the property in 30 days, and then any outstanding issues will be dealt with through code enforcement.
Moore said the decision was key for the league's financial well-being.
"The concession stand is an important source of revenue for us," he said. "We figure we'll take in $100-$150 per week and probably $200-$250 on Saturday. It's going to help us pay for a lot of this."
Brandywine Little League By the Numbers
Complex cost: $1.2 million
Fields at complex: 4
Concession stand cost: $160K
Estimated revenue: $150-$250/day
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