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

Monday, December 17, 2012

Odyssey Charter Expansion Update For GHADA Tonight - 7PM Hockessin Fire Hall

Westgate Farms Land Use Committee - 
GHADA Meeting TONIGHT (Greater Hockessin Area Development Association Meeting)
Monday, December 17, 7:00 pm
Hockessin Fire Hall --1225 Old Lancaster Pike, Hockessin, DE 19707
Join us for a brief update of Odyssey Charter School Community Concerns.  On December 6th, the “Odyssey Charter School Working Group” composed of OCS leaders and community members met to negotiate a resolution.  Several OCS working group members provided a feedback statement which OCS is currently evaluating

12/6/12 “Odyssey Work Group” Meeting Response ~
December 12, 2012
Good Morning Dr. Manolakos,
As discussed on MON 12/10, eleven people met on Monday evening to discuss and provide OCS some feedback regarding your presentation on THU 12/6 to the “Odyssey Working Group” (members listed below).
The OCS team presented their ideas in four major areas followed by some discussions related to alternatives. We will provide feedback on each separately. Note, both OCS plans continue to include a K-12 school with 1700 students and three 3-story buildings at 225,000 square feet on a 16 acre parcel.

  • Storm Water and Sanitary Sewer: We believe that OCS and their engineering team have used the available charts as discussed to determine the needs to address storm water management. The need to use underground systems was explained. We have concluded that without core samples and an independent study of the actual conditions here and downstream we would not be able to make an informed decision on this topic. We recommend engaging the Army Corps of Engineers to study actual stream configuration, slope and flow and determine impact downstream of the plan. We believe that the preliminary sampling of top level soil is not adequate to determine if a sub aqueous system is even applicable. Problems with the surrounding infrastructure related to the sanitary sewer is well documented. It also seems well accepted that the system is slated to be replaced. The idea to install temporary below grade tanks that require daily maintenance is not acceptable. Overall, our opinion is that the storm water and sanitary concerns have not been adequately addressed.
  • Historic: The current plan and the revised plan do not address one of the core issues which is the historic buffer. Previous land use requests have been rejected on this issue and plans shown so far have not provided any reasonable buffer to the historic content in the site. Direct questions regarding historic buffer remain unanswered. Additionally the GPR scan which will not provide data until well after all of the pertinent meetings give our committee great concern. Research into this technology deems it a very good noninvasive tool which provides very quick results. Our requests to allow an independent study performed at the cost of the 'friends of the cemetery' have not been responded to. Additionally, we have checked with the Catholic Cemetery folks and reports that they are engaged do not appear to be accurate. Collaboration on the historic piece has been less than acceptable. While the promise of working together on this issue is made time and time again, actual events do not match this promise.
  • Density: Movement of the High School to the Lancaster side of the parcel is a positive gesture on the part of OCS. It is very unlikely that the Catholic Cemeteries will agree to such a plan and the idea that this unsafe entrance must be eliminated due to safety pales in comparison to the overall internal and external traffic impact the staff, student, parents and local residents will endure. The movement of the High School does not address the core issue which is density.
  • Traffic: We appreciate the offer to invest in local infrastructure. OCS has offered total spending as high as 2 million. Since only work recommended by DelDOT can be performed it is not clear what recommendations they would make or what investment from OCS they would require. We do not believe anything short of a full reconstruction of the area including Loveville and Lancaster would result in an acceptable traffic plan. That idea would takes years of planning and would exceed the described investment.
Regarding density and traffic, we do not feel the discussed alternatives meet the needs of the community.
Alternate Plans: We encourage OCS to continue to investigate and vet other locations for their school. While we agree this should be pursued our Land Use committee has agreed that we would not participate in making such recommendations to OCS. We have determined any such action could be perceived by another community as our group transferring our problems to them. We know other members of other group have opened this discussion and we are pleased to hear that OCS would consider them. We would recommend very strongly that any alternative plan be discussed BEFORE attempting to engage the Exploratory Process.
Insofar as the Mundy site is concerned, nothing short of a revised plan that significantly lowers the density, and respects the historical integrity of the cemetery by creating a meaningful buffer zone around it would be acceptable, provided that it also addresses the other generic concerns relating to stormwater management, sanitary sewer and traffic. The stormwater management, sanitary sewer and traffic issues need to be met with a coordinated, unified approach because those issues affect many downstream residents and businesses located along the streams and tributaries that feed into the Red Clay Creek and the creek itself, and the many commuters who travel every day to and from Wilmington along Lancaster Pike.
We look forward to a continued dialog. We hope that through collaboration and best good neighbor practices, both the needs of the community proper and Odyssey Charter can be met.
Thank you,
Westgate Farms Civic Association

New Castle County Odyssey Charter School: Exploratory Plan Report - 12/12/2012 ~
December 11, 2012
Mark Ziegler
McBride & Ziegler, Inc.
2607 Eastburn Center
Newark, DE 19711
Re: Odyssey School – Application Number 2012-0631
Dear Mr. Ziegler:
Pursuant to your conversation with David Culver, Acting General Manager, on December
7, 2012, please accept this letter as follow-up correspondence to the Department of Land
Use’s Exploratory Plan review report, dated October 16, 2012.
During the first review of the above-referenced project, the Department processed the
plan as being subject to the exemptions outlined in Section 40.05.050.H of the New
Castle County Code (NCCC). Note this section grants exemptions to proposed public
facilities that are “needed to support development.” In order for the exemption to apply,
the charter school must satisfy the requirement that the “[p]roposed public facility[y] [is]
needed to support development.”
If it is determined that the school is not “needed to support development”, a revised
exploratory plan must be submitted for review. That plan will be subject to the
applicable comments that were previously issued and all code requirements; including,
but not limited to:

  • Table 40.04.111 – A landscape plan must be submitted to show the required street trees, bufferyards and on-lot landscaping;
  • Article 5 – The plan must document compliance with the minimum landscape surface ratio (LSR) and the maximum floor area ratio (FAR);
  • Article 10 – The plan must document compliance with the minimum protection levels for the floodplain, wetlands, riparian buffer, steep slopes and young/mature forest;
  • Article 14 (impact fees).
If it is determined the school is “needed to support development” and eligible for the
exemptions outlined in Section 40.05.050.H of the NCCC, please note that the plan is
subject to the maximum gross FAR that is required by Table 40.04.110.A of the NCCC.
Please verify the acreage of the parcel and document compliance with the gross FAR.
Note that any proposed gross floor area (GFA) in excess of the maximum FAR will be
subject to a variance request from the Board of Adjustment.
Further, please note that the plan will be heard by the New Castle County Historic
Review Board (HRB) on December 18, 2012, and must document compliance with
Article 15 of the NCCC prior to the record plan submission.
Thank you for your cooperation in this matter. Do not hesitate to contact this office with
any questions.
Bradford S. Shockley
Planner III
cc: David Culver, Acting General Manager
George Haggerty, Assistant General Manager
Michael Bennett, Planner III
Brian Merritt, Assistant County Attorney
Marlaine White, Assistant County Attorney

Janet Kilpatrick’s statement read by Nellie Manlove at the
11/13/12 Odyssey Charter School Public Meeting

I regret that I am not able to attend tonight's meeting, but this re-scheduled meeting coincides with a County Council meeting.
I want to thank the Odyssey School and Harvey Hanna for taking time to meet with the public to explain the school's plan for the 16 acre Mundy Farm.
While Schools are under State jurisdiction, the local municipality oversees the use of the land - which makes County participation in this process mandatory.
As many of you know, under the UDC which began in 1997, there are exemptions for Public buildings that are needed to support development, such as schools.
While there are exemptions for the more stringent local environmental standards in Article 10, there must be adherence to the floodplain, or federal or State wetland regulations.
Schools are exempt from Table 40.03.210 and 40.04.11, which address buffering and landscaping, but they are not exempt from the County lighting regulations addressed in these sections.
They are exempt from Section 40.04.240 regarding building within the scenic corridor.
Schools are not exempt from the transportation regulations in Article 11; however the Department of Land Use and DelDOT determine the time frame by which any mitigation must be completed. This mitigation will be determined by the results of the Traffic Impact Study.
Schools are allowed within most zoning categories; therefore this is a by-right plan, meaning that the developer has a right to build a school on this property. The State offers guidelines as to the optimum land size for elementary and secondary schools. However, those are only guidelines with suggestions for cases where those guidelines cannot be met. In looking at other local schools, it becomes obvious that traditional state schools are mostly within those guidelines. While there are no existing local Charter Schools that are comparable to the build-out numbers proposed by Odyssey, it should be noted that Newark Charter comes the closest and their proposed build-out will be on 27 acres of property.
If this plan progresses through the Land Use process and is deemed code compliant, per today's UDC standards, New Castle County Council will have an administerial-only (not a discretionary) vote. This vote would allow the Odyssey School to continue through the process of applying for building permits.
I would caution Odyssey School to look carefully at all of their options and to make determinations that are based on the safety and welfare of their students. This is a very dense plan, placing pedestrians and traffic together in a very tight space. The School's internal roadways with high school drivers and parental drop offs will quickly be overburdened. If you would like to see the overburdening of a roadway - spend a morning or afternoon in the Village of Linden Hill through the drop off or pick up time for the Linden Hill Elementary School. Or go to a High School football game when the excited or frustrated fans, players and bands from both teams are exiting the school parking lot after a game. And then imagine it in your world - on your site - on Lancaster Pike.
Think about the beautiful conceptual plan that is being drawn up for this project, and then think about this project in reality. Envision the parking lot of a local high school and the playground of the elementary school and ask yourself if you were making a decision to send your child to a Charter School, if this combination, with this limited amount of land would give you, as a parent, a safe and secure feeling.
January Meetings ~
NEW DATE -- Historic Review Board Public Hearing for Odyssey Charter School
Tuesday, January 15, 2013 @ 5:00 p.m.
WITHDRAWN from Meeting Date: Tuesday, December 18, 2012 @ 5 p.m.
WITHDRAWN Planning Board Public Hearing for Odyssey Charter School
Thursday, January 03, 2013  @ 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Civic League Is A Proud Sponsor Of DECOG's Elected Officials' Reception Set For 5:30PM Wednesday In Wilmington

Delaware Coalition for Open Government’s
Third Reception For Delaware Elected Officials
Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Dear Friend:

Just a reminder, you are invited to attend The Delaware Coalition for Open Government’s Third Reception for Delaware Elected Officials on Wednesday, December 5, 2012, 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm, at the Ed Oliver Golf  Course Restaurant, 800 N. DuPont Road, Wilmington, DE 19807

All State, County and Municipal officials have been invited to attend this “meet and greet” reception.

There is a $3 admission fee for the public, taken at the door. The reception is an opportunity for you and your friends to discuss with Delaware elected officials issues which are of concern to you today.

*cash bar

The following groups and individuals are co-sponsoring the event, to date:
Charles Brittingham, NAACP; Center for the Inland Bays, Civic League for New Castle County; Bill Cortes;  Bonnie Corwin; Delaware Coalition for Open Government; Delaware Council for Gambling Problems; Delaware Medal of Honor Historical  Association; Delaware Nature Society; Elisa Diller; Harvey Clark Greisman; John Kowalko; Michael Kozikowski; Sandra LaBlanche; League of Women Voters of Delaware;  League of Women Voters of New Castle County Libertarian Party of Delaware; Bayard Marin; David McBride; Ed Osborne; Pacem in Terris; Karen Peterson; Charles Potter; Progressive Democrats for Delaware; Ann Rydgren; Sierra Club; Dave Tackett; Loretta Walsh; WDEL Radio

John Flaherty, President,
Delaware Coalition for Open Government 
P.O. Box 493
Montchanin, DE 19710-0493

RSVP. Call 302-319-1213 or email jdf0000@aol.com if you wish to attend the event.

Ed Oliver Golf Course Restaurant. 302-571-9041, 800 North Dupont Rd., Wilmington, DE 19807. (1/2 mi. west of Lancaster Ave. 7/10 mi. east of Kennett Pike).
The Delaware Coalition for Open Government, an affiliate of the National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC), is an alliance of journalists, lawyers, business owners, news organizations, elected officials, government employees, civic associations and individuals dedicated to the free flow of public information, which strengthens and energizes a democracy and keeps the process of government truthful and vigorous.