Contact - Volunteer - Contribute - (302) 468-6024

Bob Weiner
Home About Bob Legislation & Essays 2nd District News Articles Calendar Photo & Video Gallery 2018 Campaign Contact Bob
Bob Weiner News  

6/5/2011
Weiner denounces county legal interpretation denying traffic info to the community - 'A great debate' on Barley Mill expected; Sides to state cases before NCCo board. - News Journal

Culver said the final plan for traffic improvements might not be completed by October, when County Council votes on the rezoning proposal. He said that is the normal county process but noted that the traffic-improvement plans must be finalized and agreed to by the developer before he can get building permits.

Weiner called that process "maddening."

"We have to vote on a project that includes traffic issues as a major concern, but the traffic plan won't be done when we vote," Weiner said.


'A great debate' on Barley Mill expected
Sides to state cases before NCCo board

Jun. 5, 2011  Written by ADAM TAYLOR News Journal 

IF YOU GO: The New Castle County Planning Board hearing on the proposed mall and office complex at Barley Mill Plaza is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Multi-Purpose Room of the Gilliam Building, 77 Reads Way.

The controversial plan to build a mall at the Barley Mill Plaza office complex in Greenville gets its long-awaited airing before the New Castle County Planning Board on Tuesday night.

Supporters and critics of Pennsylvania developer Keith Stoltz's plan for the 92-acre former DuPont Co. property at Del. 141 and Lancaster Pike are expected to testify, County Council members Janet Kilpatrick and Bob Weiner said.

"I've gotten about an equal number of emails from people on each side," Kilpatrick said. "I think we're going to have a great debate."

The conflicting opinions show a growing sentiment that the scaled-down compromise plan negotiated by the Citizens for Responsible Growth doesn't equate to a community-wide seal of approval for the project, residents Tom Dewson and Mark Blake said.

"CRG is a community group, not the only community group," Dewson said.

Stoltz needs a switch from office to commercial zoning to make the mall happen. The Planning Board will make a recommendation to County Council, which will vote on the rezoning request in October, county Land Use General Manager David Culver said.

In 2008, Stoltz announced plans for a total of 2.8 million square feet of commercial, office and residential use. The size of that plan led to a huge outcry of opposition from the community and eventually forced then-County Executive Chris Coons to step in and forge the framework for a compromise last year, as he was running for a U.S. Senate seat.

CRG fine-tuned the deal, which now calls for a total of 1.2 million square feet of office and commercial space.

CRG leader John Danzeisen said no one wants to see new development on the Barley Mill site, but the best possible agreement was negotiated. Stoltz has the right to build the bigger plan at any time.

In addition to the plan being smaller overall, CRG got important concessions from Stoltz that offer long-term protections -- including no more expansion on the site and prohibitions on big-box stores, convenience stores, gas stations and a four-story cap on the height of office buildings.

"It's a reasonable balance between the rights of the developer and the community's interest to protect its culture and heritage," Danzeisen said.

Danzeisen said the opponents to the negotiated Barley Mill plan are few and far between and that most civic groups in the area support it.

But not all do. Some groups aren't happy that the deal between Stoltz and CRG "agreed to disagree" on traffic improvements. The dissident faction includes a new group called Save Our County, which in April called the CRG-brokered deal with Stoltz "unacceptable."

Because the Barley Mill project is classified as a redevelopment, Stoltz does not have to perform a traffic impact study. That was part of the driving force behind a bill introduced by state Rep. Deborah Hudson to require traffic studies for development projects. Hudson's bill hasn't been passed and would not affect the Barley Mill project.

The Barley Mill proposal has also led to two competing ordinances by county councilmen to curb the overuse of the redevelopment provision in the County Code. The redevelopment language was meant to encourage the cleanup of brownfields -- such as old gas stations -- to promote in-fill development and combat sprawl. Redevelopment status gives developers such perks as waivers from traffic studies and impact fees. The redevelopment-reform proposals are being reviewed now; neither has come to a final vote.

Blake, president of the Greater Hockessin Area Development Association, said his group can't support the project.

"Our group voted unanimously against the rezoning because all the traffic studies won't be done first," Blake said. "The taxpayers out here are tired of paying millions in traffic improvements for developers who make profits from their projects."

Culver said the final plan for traffic improvements might not be completed by October, when County Council votes on the rezoning proposal. He said that is the normal county process but noted that the traffic-improvement plans must be finalized and agreed to by the developer before he can get building permits.

Weiner called that process "maddening."

"We have to vote on a project that includes traffic issues as a major concern, but the traffic plan won't be done when we vote," Weiner said.

While the Civic League of New Castle County hasn't taken an official vote on the rezoning proposal, group President Chuck Mulholland said the overwhelming sentiment is against it.

"There is a firm opposition to forgiving any traffic studies or anything to do with traffic," Mulholland said. "That's based on the congestion that already exists and that our membership sees every day they go on the road."

Danzeisen said CRG will still negotiate with Stoltz on traffic issues as time goes on.

Blake, Mulholland and Dewson said they aren't convinced that CRG is the best group to take on that task. Blake said CRG didn't include his group in the negotiation process.

"It was like they asked to join the cheerleading squad, but never told us when the practices were," Blake said.

CRG leaders said that members of all prominent civic groups were updated on developments throughout the negotiations.

Stoltz spokesman Tom Gailey said the developer hopes for a positive outcome.

"We worked hard with Citizens for Responsible Growth to find a compromise that is beneficial for the community and look forward to discussing the project with the Planning Board," Gailey said.

Back to the News Summary

Have news? Please contact me!

HOT TOPICS:
Important Safety Tips
File a Property Complaint
Report a Pothole to DelDOT
NCC Open Checkbook
Presentations to Council
Redevelopment
NCC Council Video
New Castle County Finances
NCC Public Safety
Stoltz Developments
Other Development Proposals
NCC Clearwater Disconnect Program
Brandywine 100 History
Anti-Graffiti Brigade
Talley Day Bark Park
Claymont
Search BobWeiner.com:

Latest News:
3/26/2018
  Wilmington University will repair historic Red Barn on Concord Pike
3/19/2018
  Wilmington University agrees to fix red barn on Concord Pike sooner than previously stated
3/9/2018
  New Castle County Councilman Bob Weiner: 'I feel duped' over Wilmington University's treatment of historic barn

New Castle County Comprehensive Plan
How to Attend a County Council Meeting
Info on Planning Board Public Hearings
Time Limits For Speakers And
Standards For Review Of Applications
Directions to Reads Way

 

 

Give Bob a "like" on Facebook:


   
Latest News:
3/26/2018
  Wilmington University will repair historic Red Barn on Concord Pike
3/19/2018
  Wilmington University agrees to fix red barn on Concord Pike sooner than previously stated
3/9/2018
  New Castle County Councilman Bob Weiner: 'I feel duped' over Wilmington University's treatment of historic barn
Upcoming events:
County Council meets on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday evenings of each month
"There was such a lack of oversight from the previous council. The only people who questioned anything were Chris Coons and Bob Weiner."

John Flaherty
Formerly associated with Common Cause of Delaware

Paid for by Friends of Bob Weiner - www.BobWeiner.com - (302) 468-6024 - Volunteer - Contribute
Friends of Bob Weiner is the political candidate committee that accepts contributions on behalf of New Castle County Councilman Robert S. Weiner.

Facebook Twitter Youtube