About Us

Founded in 1962, the Civic League For New Castle County is an organization comprised of community civic associations, umbrella civic groups, good government groups, businesses, and interested individuals. The League provides a forum for education about, discussion of, and action on issues relating to the impact of government on the quality of life in New Castle County

Friday, December 1, 2017

Coastal Zone Act changes need more public input


A Delaware Voice Op-Ed by Jordyn Pusey, President Civic League for New Castle County

Coastal Zone Act changes need more public input: Delaware Voice

In June of this year, the Coastal Zone Conversion Permit Act (HB 190) was introduced before the General Assembly. Many groups, including the Civic League for New Castle County, had bemoaned the lack of outreach to civic groups, environmental groups, and especially “fenceline” communities that will be most affected by any changes to the Coastal Zone Act regulations.
The appearance of this legislation, the process behind its formulation, and the speed in which it went from introduction to approval seemed to cater to special interests and industry insiders, at the expense of a fully transparent and public process. At that time, groups were assured by the bill’s sponsors and other proponents that the public would have the opportunity for input during the promulgation of regulations.
When the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) Secretary Shawn M. Garvin signed the Start Action Notice for the regulatory process in late September, he was quoted as saying that “DNREC is committed to developing the regulations governing Delaware’s Coastal Zone Act Conversion Permit in a transparent manner that facilitates and encourages public input and involvement” and that “in order to ensure a wide representation, the Regulatory Advisory Committee will be composed of stakeholders including regulated parties, large and small businesses, organized labor, communities, conservation and environmental organizations, regional and local government, and other affected persons.”
The Critical Needs Assessment notes that “DNREC shall begin the Public Workshop process no later than October 1, 2017” and that failure to meet certain deadlines would “have political consequences and likely erode the public trust.”
By some twist of logic, the promised public workshops morphed into “confidential, stakeholder interviews” with a third party: the Consensus Building Institute. These interviews were conducted with 25 different individuals and groups identified by DNREC as “stakeholders” and took place towards the end of October.
Not one member of a community or civic group was initially invited to participate. DNREC did eventually invite the Civic League to participate, and despite our deep concerns over the opaque process, we agreed. We strongly encouraged that finding consensus must be an inclusive, open process for all stakeholders.  
Where does that leave fenceline communities? They are not being truly included in the public process, and are consigned to live with the environmental and health implications of legacy pollution and potential new heavy industrial pollution.
It is troubling that community leaders and residents have not been deemed valuable enough by a state agency to share their experiences, goals, and concerns about changes to the Coastal Zone Act and how those changes will directly impact their communities.
DNREC scheduled two "public workshops" this week. While we encouraged people to attend so that their voices were heard, holding two “public workshops” on short notice is wholly insufficient.
Public workshops are not public hearings. They are not necessarily part of any formal record. Giving two weeks notice of workshops held the week after Thanksgiving does not allow for the public to engage on a meaningful level about regulations that can potentially impact their lives in very serious ways.
If our leaders truly value a public, transparent process, then DNREC needs to immediately change course and call for at least four public hearings prior to the formation of the Regulatory Advisory Committee. Residents from neighboring communities should ultimately serve on the RAC. These workshops should be held in the areas of Claymont, Southbridge, the Route 9 Corridor, and Delaware City. They should be held at a convenient time, so that working citizens can attend, and in locations that are accessible to public transit and pedestrians.
Public trust is eroding steadily. Claims of valuing transparency and open government mean nothing if actions do not match words. Please call your legislators to request this process be as open and inclusive as possible. We must start valuing the opinions of all of our citizens and making the necessary accommodations to reach out and bring groups together for the benefit of all. It’s never too late to do the right thing. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Coastal Zone Regulations Workshops: 6-8PM November 29th In Wilmington; November 30th In Delaware City


TWO DNREC workshops have been set for Coastal Zone Regulations - public information meetings:
6 - 8  p.m. Wednesday, November 29th At the Kingswood Community Center, 2300 Bowers St., Wilmington, DE 19802.
6 - 8 p.m. Thursday, November 30th In Delaware City at the Fire Hall, 815 5th St, Delaware City, DE 19706.
From the Delaware Public Meeting Calendar:
This workshop will provide the public with an opportunity to hear a brief presentation about Coastal Zone Conversion Permits and to provide input to DNREC about the development of regulations for Conversion Permits.
DNREC Contact info for questions: 
Brittany Klecan, 302-735-3480 email brittany.klecan@state.de.us

Click on the links below for more information -
DNREC: Coastal Zone Conversion Permits
Start Action Notice 2017-17 
The Delaware Coastal Zone Conversion Permit Act (81 Del. Laws, c. 120) 
The Delaware Coastal Zone Act (7 Del.C. Chapter 70) 
Regulations Governing Delaware’s Coastal Zone (7 DE Admin Code 101) 
Remediation Status Baseline Report on Existing Heavy Industry Use Sites 
Signed CBI/DNREC Professional Services Contract
Questions and answers about the stakeholder interview process 
A Map of the Delaware Coastal Zone 
The Coastal Zone Act Program

Sunday, November 12, 2017

CLNCC Monthly Meeting Set For 7PM Tuesday, November 21st In Christiana


CLNCC Meeting
Date: Tuesday, November 21, 2017 
Time:   7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Location: Christiana Presbyterian Church
15 North Old Baltimore Pike
Christiana, DE 19702 
Agenda 
  •  John Morgan, DelCOG advocacy efforts 
  •  Civic League Participation in Coastal Zone Modification “Stakeholder Interview” 
  •  Change Campaign with Network DE on including impacted communities in the stakeholder process Update on Lead Paint Sandblasting Regulations- Sign On Letter, Sarah Bucic 
  •  Update on Boxwood Plant- Environmental Issues and Site Plans 
  • - County LOS Presentation Takeaways 




Saturday, October 14, 2017

Updated: Civic League for New Castle County Monthly Meeting - 7PM Tuesday In Christiana

Update: Tonight's event is closed to the general public
This meeting was reported in error in the October News Letter as open to all --- Boxwood Road GM Plant Update Representatives from Harvey, Hanna and Associates will be unveiling their plan for the former GM facility on Monday, October 23, 2017 from 6:00 to 7:00 pm at: Minquas Fire Hall 21 N. James Street Newport, DE 19804
Monthly Meeting
Date: Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Time: 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Location: Christiana Presbyterian Church.
15 North Old Baltimore Pike Christiana, DE 19702
Read the October Newsletter (PDF HERE:)
  • DNREC has announced the initiation of process to develop regulations for Coastal Zone Conversion Permits
  • Serious concerns raised over TIS for Delaware National
  • Changes to Traditional Neighborhood Housing Proposed 17-094


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Updated: Watch Live Today! NCC Land Use Panel Discussion On "The LOS Issue" 4-6PM October 18th In New Castle - RSVP Required


Update: From  New Castle County Government:
Watch a livestream of Wednesday's panel discussion on traffic impact requirements for land development by tuning in right here on facebook at 4 p.m. 
From the New Castle County Department of Land Use ~ 

Discussion on Traffic Impact Requirements for Land Development

4 - 6 p.m. Wednesday, October 18th
3022 New Castle Avenue, New Castle, DE 19720
Panel Discussion on Traffic Impact Requirements for Land Development in New Castle County 
You are invited to join a panel discussion on the topic of Level of Service (LOS) with representatives from New Castle County’s Department of Land Use and the transportation, economic, civic, and engineering communities. 
This meeting will include an overview of the LOS issue and feature a question-and-answer session regarding the LOS regulations in New Castle County and other local governments. 
The meeting will take place on Wednesday, October 18, 2017 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. at:
Route 9 Library and Innovation Center3022 New Castle AvenueNew Castle, Delaware 19720(302) 657-8020
 
Please note: This event is open to the public but space is limited. If you plan on attending, please RSVP at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/traffic-impact-requirements-for-land-development-in-ncc-tickets-38440609899?aff=utm_source%3Deb_email%26utm_medium%3Demail%26utm_campaign%3Dnew_event_email&utm_term=eventurl_text  
Additional information may be found on the Department of Land Use website at: www.nccdelu.org
You may also view the Level of Service White Paper.  
We hope to see you there!


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Updated: Old Hercules Chemical Station Tract Residential Development Plan Before NCC Planning Board 7PM Tonight In New Castle


Update: From WDEL - Residents oppose a development at a former country club for mainly traffic concerns

This same plan was rejected by the Delaware Supreme Court over the traffic impact. 

Will NCC CE Matt Meyer allow his land use department to throw us under the bus with tricks we're seeing like the reduction of the scope of the impact study with this now-Pettinaro former Toll Brothers project? 

A Canterbury Hills Civic Association Board Director sent this alert: 
I just wanted to make sure you were aware of (and could perhaps post information regarding) Tuesday's Planning Board Public Hearing which will address the Delaware National development, which has been resubmitted in almost entirely identical form to that rejected by the Planning Board two years ago, and which may well be approved this time around.
7 p.m. tonight
James Gilliam Building
77 Read's Way, New Castle, DE 19720
App. 2016-0461-S:  South side of Lancaster Pike (SR 48), east side of Hercules Road.  Exploratory Major Land Development Plan and PLUS Review for Delaware National. The plan proposes to consolidate 4 existing parcels and subdivide into 158 single family detached lots and 104 townhouse lots. S (Suburban) zoning district. CD 2 and 3.  
Tonight's meeting will be interesting to say the least. This particular land use residential development application has been subject to many years of going through the paces for concerns over both traffic and environment. 

Under New Castle County Council Executive Matt Meyer, the Land Use Department has significantly reduced the scope of the traffic impact study for this plan now submitted by Pettinaro, a point which has been under fierce contention since the December 5, 2016 NCC Scoping Meeting:
August 24, 2017RE: New Castle County Planning Board Public HearingApplication 2016-0461 -- Delaware National 
Dear Members of the Planning Board, 
I am writing to alert you to serious deficiencies in the recently issued Traffic Impact Study (TIS) for Delaware National, the 262-unit residential development proposed for the former Hercules Golf Course. As designed, the traffic study fails to account for over 10,000 vehicles per day. 
The TIS is deeply flawed in 2 respects: 1) traffic from over 1 million square feet of existing but vacant space at AstraZeneca, Experimental Station, Barley Mill Plaza (exclOdyssey School), 4250 Lancaster Pike and Chestnut Run Plaza is unaccounted for; and 2) traffic from committed developments (previously approved but unbuilt space)included in the TIS appears to be seriously underestimated. 
On Item 1 -- vacant space – the issue is that existing vacant space has traffic rights that precede new development. Recent Supreme Court decisions have reaffirmed that available traffic capacity is allocated on a first come/first serve basis. County Code Sec 40.11.130 requires that "Future traffic shall be projected by the inclusion of trip generation from projects with recorded plans...". All existing space has a recorded plan.  Also, consideration of vacant space is recognized as an engineering best practice as evidenced by the testimony of Mr. Brian Keaveney of Pennoni Associates, a leading traffic engineering firm (http://www.umtownship.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/3105). Vacant space is also regularly included in traffic studies nationwide. 
The intent of State and County law, and engineering best practice, seems indisputable  -- projections of future traffic need to include vacant space when material, unless it can be demonstrated that the vacant space has been permanently abandoned. Proceeding with a traffic study that fails to address a known material deficiency is irrational, arbitrary and capricious. Yet over 1 million square feet of vacant office space is currently unaccounted for in this TIS  -- the equivalent of some 8,000 vehicles per day that are missing from the analysis.
As for the argument that "traffic studies haven't considered vacant space in the past", this is a unique situation that can't be ignored -- vacant space is huge, it's nearby and ithas prior traffic rights. 
On item 2 – committed developments – the issue is that traffic from previously approved but unbuilt space needs to be accurately estimated. DuPont Chestnut Run and Little Falls Lots 9,11,10 – several of the committed projects in the TIS -- comprise 778,000 square feet of approved but unbuilt space that will house some 3,000 occupants. Yet the TIS estimates that only about 40% of these office workers will arrive/depart during the peak AM and PM hours. Based on real-world experience along area roads, this appears low by several 1,000 vehicles per day. 
My schedule may prevent me from attending the public hearing and thus I’m providing this testimony in advance. We believe these deficiencies need to be addressed beforeproceeding with this project and respectfully request your leadership and assistance in resolving these critical gaps. 
Sincerely,Tom Dewson10 Squirrel RunWilmington, DE 19807302-383-4771 
cc: Senator Gregory LavelleSenator Anthony DelcolloRepresentative Deborah HudsonRepresentative Gerald Brady
Also, this specific parcel was the site of Hercules Experimental Station (where they developed Agent Orange) which added to residents' concerns about the contaminants from golf course pesticides over the rest of the old Hercules Golf Course acreage:
State of Delaware Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) Appeal 2012-07 filed by Milltown Limestone Civic Alliance on Secretary's Order 2012-A-0009 approving the Final Plan of Remedial Action for Hercules Road and Lancaster Pike Site near Wilmington, New Castle County (DNREC Project No. DE-1492) dated March 22,2012.
Also see ~

2017 Updated: Former Hercules Golf Course Development Plan Public Meeting Set For 7PM Thursday At A.I. DuPont High School 


2009 Lawsuits against Toll Brothers’ Greenville Overlook development dismissed

2010 Pettinaro to develop Delaware National Country Club
2011 Environmental Issues disregarded by DNREC - CLNCC

2014 Toll Brothers' Appeal Of County-Denied Traffic Impact Study Is Set For 6PM Thursday - NCC Board Of Adjustment

2016 Ruling affirms New Castle County power to block sprawl 

2016 Mill Creek developer takes county traffic rules to court 

2016 Push to redevelop old Hercules golf course begins anew 

2016 Supreme Court: County can make developers improve traffic


Monday, September 25, 2017

City Of Newark To Consider Water Tower Maintenance Best Practices Recommendations 7PM Tonight

There were some gruesome headlines about the dangers of ingesting lead in the news this week: Study: Flint water killed unborn babies; many moms who drank it couldn't get pregnant

The dangers of lead paint poisoning are well known but Delaware is behind the curve when it comes to best practices for and protection of the public from exposure to possible ingestion of lead paint from water towers and other outdoor structures as a result of sandblasting.

Members of the Civic League will be attending the Newark Council meeting tonight to show support for the recommendation of the Conservation Advisory Commission. It's item 6 B. Water Tower Maintenance Best Practices Recommendations on the City of Newark's Agenda.
And in case you missed it, here is Civic League's Sarah Bucic's Delaware Voice piece, published in this Sunday's paper ~ Lead paint sandblasting on water towers remains an environmental hazard: Delaware Voice
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, lead can affect almost every organ and system in your body. Lead is so dangerous that it has been banned in gasoline and indoor paint. 
However, Delaware residents continue to remain unprotected by the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, which does not prevent lead contamination of surrounding communities during sandblasting of water towers.  
DNREC’s “lead loophole” prevents permitting and state oversight during sandblasting of water towers or any outdoor structure. Communities in Delaware have already experienced the impacts.  
I discovered this loophole last year when a Suez water employee knocked on my door to tell me workers were sandblasting a water tank directly next to my home. When I asked the employee if the paint contained lead, he said it did — and that nobody had asked him that before. 
Utilizing the Freedom of Information Act, a 2016 incident in Newark where containment was breached has been discovered. Lead chips, dust and grit were widely spread in at least one residential yard during water tower sandblasting.
Soil remediation has yet to be performed, even though it has been more than a year. We also learned that DNREC was never notified that hazardous materials were released onto a residential property. 
While the secretary of DNREC has been made aware of this situation, DNREC continues to defer any decision on how they will proceed with state oversight over water tower sandblasting. As a result, private companies and municipalities can contaminate your yard without ever having to tell you what occurred, what health hazards your family may be facing or any impact on property values. 
Back in April, Secretary Shawn Garvin promised that in the least, a best-practices model would be implemented by the end of June and community notification guidelines regarding sandblasting of lead structures would be initiated. Now, nearly three months later, DNREC has become silent on the issue. 
The situation in Newark has revealed a worst-case scenario and why we need permitting for these projects. In June, upon learning about the problem of lead paint sandblasting in 2016 and the lead release into a residential yard, the city of Newark’s Conservation Advisory Commission recommended to Newark City Council that they expand notification requirements of projects that handle lead and explain the risks of lead paint exposure. The CAC also recommended that DNREC take on the regulation of water tower refurbishment to ensure protection of public health.
Now that DNREC is aware of the lead release in Newark in 2016, the agency should be taking action to ensure that the cleanup of the residential property is conducted in a manner that is thorough and that reduces any future potential for exposure. 
Other states, such as Minnesota, are able to better manage the risks of sandblasting water towers that contain lead paint. Minnesota requires public notification of lead paint removal within a perimeter surrounding all water towers. They also provide families with actions they can take to protect themselves thus minimizing health risk. Minnesota also has additional requirements for lead paint removal near schools and day care facilities 
DNREC, at the very least, should be able to initiate a process that describes how they will take action to protect Delaware’s children from exposure to lead paint chips, grit and dust. This process should include permitting and regulatory oversight, community notification requirements, and health and safety plans to ensure the protection of public health. Containment measures, transportation and disposal of hazardous waste, along with air pollution monitoring are bare minimum measures to protect public health. 
In the coming weeks, the city of Newark will be reviewing its own procedures for sandblasting lead paint. With two new lead paint sandblasting projects on water towers in the near future (Scottfield and Arbour Park), this discussion may prevent a repeat of the 2016 release into a neighboring yard. However, with over 160 water towers in the state, this is an issue that affects Delawareans in all three counties. 
We were able to access information about the Newark water towers because it is a municipal government, but many of the state’s water towers are privately owned. 
If you live in Newark, you can contact your city council member and ask that steps be taken to prevent lead exposure. Garvin, the secretary of DNREC, should also be interested in your concerns about the oversight of lead paint sandblasting in Delaware’s communities. 
Sarah Bucic, a Wilmington resident, has been a registered nurse since 2001 and has a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania in psychiatric mental health nursing.