3/9/2018 New Castle County Councilman Bob Weiner: 'I feel duped' over Wilmington University's treatment of historic barn
Joe Irizarry Published Mar 9, 2018 at 5:30 am | Updated Mar 19, 2018 at 10:45 pm
As Wilmington University received approvals from the New Castle County Board of Adjustment on signage at its future Concord Pike campus, one county councilman is upset with how the university is treating a historical property on the campus.
"Since the day that Wilmington University took ownership of that red barn, it's been falling down," said Councilman Bob Weiner, whose district includes the new campus.
The Red Barn, which can be seen from Concord Pike and is across from the Concord Mall, was the subject of Weiner's concern at the public hearing about the signs.
Weiner said he had no issues with the signage, but he wanted any approvals to include a condition to fix the barn; that was also the recommendation from the New Castle County Land Use Department. But the Board of Adjustment voted 4-0 to approve the signage without any conditions tied to the barn, saying they felt it wasn't in their scope.
The board's vice chair refused comment to WDEL to explain its decision concerning the red barn following the hearing.
The university was cited with a code violation in January for the barn's upkeep, and it has until March 15, 2018 to comply. Officials intend to file for an extension.
That's unacceptable to Weiner.
"We heard from Andy Lubin, the representative of Wilmington University, that they'll get around to it in July or August if the red barn is still standing," said Weiner. "Well, I'm going to demand more."
During the public hearinf, Lublin said h wanted the campus construction complete before working on the barn, since the Concord Pike campus is set to open for the Fall 2018 semester. He disputed the extension was due to the winter weather. Lubin added Wilmington University is sincere about its intentions for the red barn.
The hearing included a delay because the New Castle County Board of Adjustment would not let WDEL record the proceedings.
The board's attorney first stated it was in their regulations or bylaws, but when pressed further by WDEL and Weiner, who stated that audio recordings are allowed, the attorney didn't find any regulation about recordings.
The attorney said in protection of the board, the practice of recording is left to the chair of the board. The chair was not present, so the decision was left up to Vice Chair Terry Parker who was running the meeting. He decided recordings--other than the board's recording--would NOT be allowed despite it being a public hearing. Parker would not go on the record , following the meeting, to explain his decision when asked about the situation.
Weiner said he would respect any decision the board made, but noted the press should be able to make its own recording of the meeting because it wouldn't interfere with the board or the witnesses.
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"In 70+ years I have never experienced such speedy action, professional courtesy and genuine interest from any elected official! New Castle County and the people therein are fortunate to have Bob Weiner and his staff working for them."
J. Mark Attix
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