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

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Join The Civic League For New Castle County And Guest Speaker State Treasurer Chip Flowers 7PM Tuesday, November 19th

State Treasurer Chip Flowers will be the guest speaker at our monthly meeting 7PM Tuesday, November 19th in New Castle:

Next meeting:
November 19, 2013
at 7:00 PM

Paul J. Sweeney
Public Safety Building
3601 N. DuPont Hwy
(Route 13)
New Castle, DE

Get Map

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Join Us For The October CLNCC General Business Meeting 7PM Tuesday In New Castle

Join us!
Civic League for New Castle County's
Monthly Meeting 
 7PM Tuesday October 15th
at the Public Safety Building
3601 North DuPont Highway
General Business Meeting
The October 2013 newsletter of the New Castle County Civic League includes a letter from Charlie Weymouth, a Resolution from Vic Singer about DelDOT and the county's flagrant disregard for the state law, and an Arbour Park Civic Association communique on the Data Centers LLC Power Plant: http://www.civicleagueforncc.org/cc/13-10-cc.pdf
And don't miss it! State Treasurer Chip Flowers will be CLNCC's November 19th guest speaker.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Public Advocate David Bonar Is The Guest Speaker For CLNCC's September Monthly Meeting

Join the Civic League for New Castle County in welcoming Delaware's Public Advocate, David Bonar, as guest speaker at our next monthly meeting!

The CLNCC will meet September 17th at 7PM at the Cranston Heights Fire Company on the Kirkwood Highway, Prices Corner (next to Sears) in the Chiefs' 2nd Floor Meeting Room. Access to the meeting room is at the back of the Fire House, away from Kirkwood Hwy.

 Delaware Division of the Public Advocate Outreach
The Division of the Public Advocate is the Delaware agency that advocates on behalf of consumers on utility issues.
The Division of the Public Advocate is reaching out to consumers to provide information about electricity issues and rates, and ways consumers can save money on electric bills.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Catch Chuck Mulholland's Interview With WDEL's Al Mascitti On Workforce Housing Accountability


 (Chuck Mulholland - News Journal image)
Some background ~ 

Penrose Hollins' 2007 Workforce Housing Ordinance 07-150
2011 DREC Sellers Disclosure Form
Delaware Way's WFH posts

Chuck Mulholland's Update on Workforce Housing in the Civic League for New Castle County's June 2013 newsletter.

Kavips' 2008 post: A Tale of Two Meetings
Here's the sign in the front yard of Chuck's Vance Neck Road home ~ 

And here's Chuck's July 2013 WDEL interview on Workforce Housing ~

WFH PODCAST: Al Mascitti Civic activist Chuck Mulholland on problems with New Castle County's "workforce housing" ordinance (7/17)

This is a fascinating interview. Chuck doesn't hold anything back, accusing the county and developers of Hypocrisy, Trickery and Deceit. Mascitti agrees saying "the complete botch that is the county's so-called WFH that was a stalking horse all the way through." Make pretend that housing for the public sector is soooooo expensive and set up special circumstances so developers could evade zoning rules.

Yup. That sums it up. Development attorneys like Pam Scott authored the WFH code for their benefit and NCC Council didn't even blink. WFH was sold as the end-all be-all for affordable housing but the evidence clearly shows that it isn't what has happened. 

The Gordon administration's investigation of WFH has found that only one Workforce Housing unit has actually been sold. EVER. In addition none have even been advertised as Workforce Housing projects. EVER.

How did this happen? Chuck points to contradictory language in WFH code for income levels.

In writing WFH plan contracts, NCC Community Services' selection of moderate and low income (UDC sec. 40.07.312) instead of low and or very low incomes (UDC sec. 40.07.321) reveals what appears to have been a level of discrimination against the very low income and low income households. 

Chuck writes "the language contained in the individual plan contracts (UDC sec. 40.07.341) for Bayberry North, the Ponds of Odessa, and High Hook, for instance, calls for only moderate income dwellings to be constructed". The selection of that section of the code for the creation of these plans is not supported by "the wording of UDC sec. 40.07.311A - compliance with all provisions of this Division - which would not permit such exclusion." 

Plus, the wording of UDC sec. 40.07.311B - that Any plan submitted pursuant to this division only shall be considered vested at the time of application - precludes any variance from the original Ordinance #07-150 as written, adopted and signed.

So there you have it. Currently, NCC has WFH plans with vastly increased density granted WITHOUT ANY AFFORDABLE HOUSING TO SHOW FOR IT.

Meanwhile, New Castle County was unable to answer Chuck's FOIA (below). The Department of Community Services could not justify how they contracted Master Workforce Housing Agreements that gave density bonuses for moderate income-only priced housing for those WFH plans vested under code allowing density bonuses only for low and very low income-priced housing.

It is difficult not to conclude that the county's Community Services Department under Coons (presumably by then department manager, Anne Farley) improperly approved contracts for WFH developments to allow for moderate-only priced housing when the code these plans were vested under allow for only low and very low WFH pricing. And it's Tom Gordon's mess to clean up.
The unanswered FOIA ~
Mon, Apr 22, 2013 at 10:23 PM
Subject: Freedom of Information request, contracts and agreements signed under 40.07.341
To: ccasey@nccde.orgSLGuy@nccde.org
New Castle County Department of Community Services
via email

RE: Freedom of Information request, contracts and agreements signed under 40.07.341 for the following projects / developments:

Regarding the following New Castle County Department of Land Use Projects numbered and titled as follows:
application 2007-0421Marra Landing, agreement 20100128-004683 as filed with the Recorder of Deeds, signed by New Castle County Chief Administrative Officer Rick Gregory on 01/27/10, with page 1 , paragraphs 5 & 6, reading, in part, low and moderate income households;

application 2008-0804, Goldsborough Farm, agreement 20100804-0040615 as filed with the Recorded of Deeds, signed by New Castle County Chief Administrative Officer Rick Gregory on 07/29/10, with page 1, paragraphs 5 & 6  reading, in part, low and moderate income households;

application 2007-0438 , High Hook, agreement 20111024-0064361 as filed with the Recorder of Deeds, signed by New Castle County Executive Paul G. Clark on 10/10/11, with page 1, paragraphs 5 & 6  reading, in part,  moderate income households;

application 208-0917 , Ponds of Odessa, agreement 20110728-0042210 as filed with the Recorder of Deeds, signed by New Castle County Chief Administrative Officer Gregg Wilson on 07/28/11, with page 1, paragraphs 5 & 6  reading, in part,  moderate income households;

application 2008-0829 , Village of Bayberry North, agreement 20091228-0081362 as filed with the Recorder of Deeds, signed by  New Castle County Chief Administrative Officer Rick Gregory on 12/28/09, paragraphs 4 & 5  reading, in part,  moderate income households.
Given that each of these agreements lists the ordinance ( substitute 1 for Ordinance 07-150, adopted by New Castle County Council on 2/26/08 ) under which these agreements and applications were made to and by New Castle County Department of Land Use and the Department of Community Services, I am seeking the legal basis for the income levels cited and listed in these above  agreements, given the wording of 40.07.321 A & B as contained in Ordinance 07-150,ie low and or very low income households, and also the wording of 40.07.311 B, ie applications vested..
I also note that the term moderate income households does not appear in any density bonus section in Ordinance 07-150, and does not appear in an approved New Castle County Workforce Housing Ordinance until February 2009, as listed in Ordinance 08-121, and thus not appearing to apply to any of the above listed plans.

I have read the New Castle County FOIA policy and file this request by email to the Department Community Services of New Castle County.

Chuck Mulholland

President, Southern New Castle County Alliance

Vance Neck Rd

Middletown, DE 19709


Chuck's index for the WDEL interview with Al Mascitti ~

The above link is for the original ordinance that has created what David Grimaldi described as major problems.
Depending on what you wish to discuss I would reference the ordinance, and what has happened thereafter.
I will reference Unified Development Code sections
                      40.07.311 A , B and C; 
                      40.07.321 A 1 and 2;
                      40.07.332 and 333;
and the Delaware Seller's Disclosure form for new construction -namely section II, line 13
David Grimaldi, NCC CAO, has promised that NCC’s workforce housing program will be among the first items the new Land Use General Manager will be asked to review.

And I am happy to report that State Senator Bruce Ennis is continuing to working hard to make sure Delaware gives full disclosure to home buyers of any unit under a Master Workforce Housing Agreement and that NCC's affordable housing policy is actually producing what it's selling to the public.


And as always, if you like our work at CLNCC and want to support it and see it continue,please consider joining! Individuals, businesses and civic associations are all welcome. 
See HERE for [Membership Form - PDF]

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Civic League To Elect Slate Of Officers Tonight - 7PM In New Castle - Membership Renewal Time!

CLNCC meets at 7PM tonight ~
Chuck Mulholland, President
- Presentation by Community Services Division:  "Preventive Policing Program" of the New Castle County Police
- Election of Officers

The meeting will  be held at the Paul J. Sweeney Public Safety Building - 3601 N. DuPont Hwy, (Route 13), New Castle, DE (Map) 

 The League's Newsletter has some fantastic stories this month ~

  • Update on Workforce Housing
  • Farmland is N.C.C.'s Most Important Asset
  • How Our Friends in Dover Perfected the Art of Wasting Public Dollars
  • Nominees for Civic League Officers
 Click here to view newsletter [PDF]

The wasted public dollars in Chuck's essay (above) refers, in part, to unnecessary work being done by DelDOT contractors on Vance Neck Road near Middletown.......A few weeks ago, Chuck sent this along to the News Journal ~
Today a crew started ripping up intact road bed in front of my home, and replacing sections with new blacktop. As copied to you earlier in communication to DelDOT, many neighbors are loudly complaining about the waste of public money, given the construction activities east of me.

We took some photos of a few of the nearby areas marked for tomorrow's work, if you may use any of this for your watch on DelDOT and the continuing waste of public funds, or the $34M that they found and have to spend by the end of June. That's what was told to my neighbor by a road worker from Diamond Materials today.

We are excited about our slate of officers for tonight's election! 
William H. "Bill" Dunn - President
Mark W. Blake - 1st VP and Program Chair
Charles Stirk - 2nd VP and Editor of County Comments
Christine Whitehead - 3rd VP and Secretary
Scott Sauer - Treasurer 
If you like our work at CLNCC and want to support it and see it continue, please consider joining! Individuals, businesses and civic associations are all welcome. 
See HERE for [Membership Form - PDF]
  • Mail your payment to:
    Civic League for NCC
    c/o R. Romanelli, Membership
    109 Coopers Dr
    Newark, DE 19702 
- Pay using your Credit Card or PayPal account

Annual membership includes ten copies of the newsletter, County Comments, and one copy of the Membership Directory.
  • Individual & non-profit organizations, $25
  • Business -
    • 99 employees or less, $25
    • More than 100 employees, $50

Monday, June 10, 2013

Chancery Decision Goes To Save Our County And The Gordon Administration!

No doubt Stoltz will take this up a peg to the Delaware Supreme Court for an appeal but for now, lets savor the sweet victory!

From facebook ~ Tom Gordon
BREAKING: Stoltz Barley Mill Plaza - Vice Chancellor Glasscock has nullified County Council's vote, siding with Save Our County and the Executive Branch. This is a major victory for the people of New Castle County!

Friday, May 31, 2013

New Castle County Government Update

Update: I just spoke with Tony Prado, NCC Communications Director who is looking into solving some of the problems outlined below.

This is good ~  New Castle County Government
If you see this sign posted, it means that there are NEW PLANS received & being reviewed in the County's Land Use Dept. Now, you can get an easy link to those plans each week right here!
NEW PLANS Received 5/23-5/29:http://tinyurl.com/cbk3nd5

But I think New Castle County ought to recreate the entire Saturday morning News Journal Department of Land Use notice on the county website: One Stop Shop.

So I took a spin around the various Boards' web pages and found a dismal lack of transparency from the Ethics Commission. No agenda posted, unknown next meeting time, place, date and the last minutes posted were from March. 

None of the status/map links are working on any of the DLU web pages so far examined this morning.

The last several Historic Review Board meetings have been cancelled for lack of agenda yet there are outstanding issues with the La Grange demolition permit from a year ago. I am waiting on a report from Jim Smith on this but I am pretty damned tired of holding my breath.

Of interest from the Board of Adjustment June 13th public hearing ~ 

South of Fieldsboro Road (The Enclave at Odessa), Townsend 19734TO BE CONTINUED TO THURSDAY, JUNE 27TH. THERE WILL BE NO PRESENTATION OR DISCUSSION OF THIS APPLICATION. Area variance to convert 22 unbuilt, twin dwelling unit lots to 22 village dwelling unit lots along Bilboa (14-012.42-026-029 & 032-035), Granada (14-012.42-012-015), Pamplona (14-012.42-008-011), and Carthage Courts (14-012.42-002-007) to facilitate the recordation of an associated land development plan: to provide 0 percent twin lots (10 percent minimum of any dwelling unit type). Enclavecap, LLC. S Zoning. CD 12. (App. 2013-0336-A)

0 River Road, Delaware City, 19706TO BE CONTINUED TO THURSDAY, JUNE 27TH. THERE WILL BE NO PRESENTATION OR DISCUSSION OF THIS APPLICATION. Area variances to maintain existing paving 0 feet from the property line at a number of locations along the site perimeter (10-foot other yard paving setback). DE City Refining Company LLC. HI Zoning. CD 11 (App. 2013-0372-A) TP 12-008.00-015

And here's what's on the docket for Tuesday night's Planning Board meeting. I have a separate post coming ASAP about the Walmart expansion. Stay Tuned ~

20130240D - East side Limestone Road (SR7), north side Sandy Drive and south of Kirkwood Highway (SR2)To amend a declaration of restrictions dated June 6, 1984 by Delaware Medical Group Properties when the property at 1941 Limestone Road was rezoned for office uses and a subsequent declaration of restrictions dated May 22, 1990 to expand the size of the medical building. The proposed amendment for Limestone Medical Center will permit the addition of parking spaces and paving along the front of the property adjacent to SR 7. A minor land development plan (2011-0690-S) is associated with this DR. ON (Office Neighborhood) zoning district. CD 1
20130128SZ - East side Centerville Road, southeast of exit ramp, north of Century BlvdExploratory Major Land Development Plan, Rezoning, and PLUS Review for Walmart Expansion – Price’s Corner proposes to rezone a 5.33 acre parcel from S to CR to build a 43,455 sf expansion and additional parking to the existing retail store. Ord. 13-036 will rezone 5.33 ac. From S (Suburban) to CR (Commercial Regional). CD 1

20120603SZ - East side Summit Bridge Road (SR 896), south of Porter Road and north of Howell School RoadExploratory Major Land Development Plan, Rezoning, and PLUS Review for Colony at Summit Bridge – East proposes to rezone a portion of the property to ST for a residential open space planned development option for 150 dwellings (39 single-family detached, 24 single-family twin units, and 87 single-family townhouse units). Ord. 13-037 will rezone 45.32 acres from S (Suburban) to ST (Suburban Transition) and will amend the Comprehensive Plan consistent therewith. CD 6
20120935S - South side Pulaski Hwy. (US 40), 0.3 mile west of Walther Rd./Glendale BlvdExploratory Major Land Development Plan for Rockwood Parcel 1A proposes to remove a 20 ft. wide sanitary sewer easement and build 45 apartment buildings with 438 units, 32 parking garages and associated improvements. NCap (Neighborhood Conservation - Apartments) zoning district. CD 12

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Civic League For New Castle County Meeting At 7PM Tonight - Senator Sokola Will Speak About Education And The General Assembly


Chuck Mulholland, President
Speaker: Senator David Sokola  
Topic: "Race to the Top" and other education issues under consideration in the Delaware State Senate
Location: The meeting will be in the Paris Community Room, Troop 2, 100 La Grange Avenue in Bear (MAP) at  7 PM tonight.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Targeted Analytic Policing System Presentation 7PM Tonight - CLNCC Meeting In New Castle

Civic League For New Castle County Meeting 7PM Tonight In New Castle - Targeted Analytic Policing System Presentation

CLNCC Monthly Meeting - April Agenda

Tuesday, April 16, 2013, 7:00 PM

Location: Paul Sweeney Public Safety Building ( New Castle County Police) 3601 N. DuPont Highway, Minquadale

7:00 PM call to order

7:15       NCC Sr. Lt. Patrick Crowley with discussion on new crime prevention tactics - Targeted Analytic Policing System

8:15       Open discussion on officers nominations; 
Update for Unified Development Code, including Homeowners Bill of Rights as complied by Fritz Greisinger; Legislation proposal(s) in the General Assembly.

9:00         Adjournment

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Civics Unroll UDC Reform Recommendations At The County Executive's Monthly Civic Umbrella Meeting

A group of civic leaders worked to create this document over the last four months. We presented it to the Gordon administration yesterday at the newly reconstituted New Castle County Administration - Civic Umbrella Group monthly meeting. Last night, GHADA, CCOBH, Bear-Glasgow, Pike Creek, Southern New Castle County Alliance and CLNCC were represented and brought their issues to the table. 

Tom Gordon had department staff present to respond to questions from the civics: Col. Elmer Setting, County Police, Jim Smith, Land Use; Mike Coupe, CFO; Mike Svaby, Special Services, Bill Shahan, Community Governing, Dave Grimaldi, CAO, Andria Smith, Administrative Services, Lynn Beaty, Human Resources.
Tom Gordon told the group that the RFP for a national search for a consultant to lead the revision of the UDC would be released today. We hope that our document will be useful in that regard.

Upgrading the UDC/Comp Plan
We all recognize the importance that land development, homebuilding and construction industries have in the strength and vitality of our local economy. Good paying jobs for our citizens, home purchasing opportunities, and new employment opportunities for a well-trained workforce, are critical to a prosperous and thriving citizenry.
The goals and desires must be pursued, however, in a manner which includes a land use and construction process that 1). is fair and applied equally to everyone; 2). also protects the health safety and welfare of the citizens of New Castle County; and 3). advances and applies the rules that call for orderly, well-planned and logical land use and one which ensures that infrastructure and services are, or will be, in place to support the same.
The quality of life in the county should be of paramount importance.
With these goals in mind, there are some minimal, preliminary initiatives that should be advanced immediately:
1). Traffic Study Before Council Action:
If a land development plan and/or rezoning requires the preparation of a traffic impact study or traffic operational analysis, it should be completed (and reviewed by the appropriate government agencies) prior to County Council approval.
State Code, specifically 9 Del. C. 2662, dictates that New Castle County rezonings already require this and the UDC says how to do it at 40.11.000 and 40.11.100.  On major developments without rezonings, the UDC already requires this at 40.11.000 and 40.11.100.  
2). Traffic Analysis Scoping Meetings:
Interested citizens should be aware of, and have the right to participate in, TIS/TOA scoping meetings.
Further, we recommend that, after the Applicant submits what is required by UDC 40.11.120.A, the Department's and DelDOT's findings as to the need for and scope of further traffic analysis become recommendations subject to approval and/or modification by the Planning Board after a Public Hearing.   
3). Development Zones/Areas, Incentives, and infrastructure Investments:
We need to identify development zones/areas and incentivize development, higher density and infrastructure investment in those areas.
Obviously, since the transportation infrastructure is the most costly single infrastructure component, and since the transportation infrastructure investment is controlled at the State level, NC County has virtually no opportunity to do anything other than react to the system the State provides.  Any alteration of that arrangement would require (at least) expanding the County's taxing authority. 
4). Strengthen Record Plan Oversight:
We need to strengthen citizen's, County Council's, and the County Executive's ability and authority to scrutinize and raise legitimate concerns about Record Plans, and to have these plans tabled unless and until these concerns are resolved.
5). NCC - DelDOT MOU and TIS Regulations:
The MOU with DelDOT needs to be reexamined including with regard to specific LOS standards.  The Comprehensive Plan and DelDOT TIS Regulations must be brought under alignment with any revisions to the UDC and the NCC- DelDOT MOU.
When enacted, the "Quality of Life Act" required that NC County and DelDOT establish a joint agreement on LOS to be memorialized by ordinance.  Today's version of that memorialization is Article 11 of the UDC. 
Whereas Article 11 of the UDC has been enacted by an elected legislative body and no one at DelDOT is elected, the agency may not change anything in Article 11 unilaterally. Whatever changes that could be contemplated in DelDOT Regulations cannot over-rule agreements that have been memorialized by an elected legislative body.  DelDOT's Regulations proposals must be regarded as suggestions to change, rather than orders.
The pointing of fingers and "hot potato" approach over who is responsible for county infrastructure must stop. See: (News Journal) Influence, access taint land-use decisions
“DelDOT officials say when they get the traffic operational analysis, they will rigorously review it and make recommendations for traffic mitigation if level of service falls below acceptable standards.
“At one level the department is still back to an expression of an opinion to the land use agency that makes the determination of whether to say yes, no or maybe to a development proposal,” said DelDOT lawyer Schranck.
Such passing of the buck by DelDOT annoys county officials.
“DelDOT is the road authority and we don’t overrule them,” Culver said. “The county tells developers they have to do what DelDOT says is necessary. If DelDOT doesn’t sign off on a plan, the plan doesn’t get approved by the county.””
6). Ethics Code Update:
The Ethics Code needs to be updated to disclose every relationship, monetary or financial interest or involvement that any elected official or county employee has with anyone seeking approvals or opposing any development project.
The Ethics Commission must uphold their Oath of Office in pursuing complaints for actions violating either County or State law.  When a complaint is determined to be a violation of State law, we expect the County Ethics Commission to forward that complaint as a matter of policy.
7). Workforce Housing Ordinance:
We need to revisit workforce housing and either enact a meaningful and usable affordable housing ordinance or get rid of it entirely.
8). Redevelopment Ordinance:
We need to revisit the Redevelopment Ordinance and make it applicable to true redevelopment projects which provide a benefit to the community.
Redevelopment must be adjusted to be applicable only to areas in need of change and should go through the process the same as zoning changes. LU Dept. should not be allowed to grant redevelopment status without input from the community. 
9). Clean Hands Law:
We need a greater use and strengthening of the Clean Hands law in order to hold developers to their obligations and to get communities’ development plans completed as approved.
10). UDC Definitions:
UDC definitions are unclear and subject to misinterpretation and misuse, e.g.,
a)  The definition of "redevelopment" needs to be returned to its original intent.
b)  “Mixed Use" is so poorly defined in the Code as to be almost meaningless.  Today it can serve as a front for commercial development in office locations. The code must be clarified. If a use is being changed, a rezoning should be required.
c)  "Limited" uses (in the use code) are similarly poorly written and need upgrading.
d)  The intent of the UDC is often ignored.  It requires that buildings be compatible w/ the area.  But developers have claimed the ability to place high rise buildings next to single family homes. Express protections are needed, say, 50 ft height limitation within 500 ft of a single family detached dwelling.
e) What does "by right" mean and how can abuses of that term be avoided?
f) The proportional build-out requirement under mixed use needs to be codified.
11). Return to the Three Step Process:  
The change from a 3 step to a 2 step process, when the County Council only receives substantive information after its vote, has the clear effect of preventing fact-based decision making by the legislative branch and is, in effect, not in the public interest.
12). Deed Restriction Amendments:
To protect the public in the event that amendments are sought to deed restrictions, the UDC should require a 2/3 majority vote by County Council.
13) The 2012 Comp Plan:
The Comprehensive Plan Update process must be revisited. It is too easily subject to manipulation, use of vague terms, and inadequate protections of the public interest. Amend the 2012 Comp Plan to: 
a) Clarify terms used such as "Community Redevelopment", "New Community Development", "Office/Commercial/Industrial", etc.
b) Specifically eliminate zoning code terminology (O/C/I).
c)  Re-install the wording “new development should respect the character and integrity of existing communities” and similar phraseology present in the 2007 Plan
14) County Council Accountability:
Councilpersons need to be well informed. Of course DLU is relied on to know the code, but often the interpretations from DLU are difficult to understand or decipher.
County Council decisions are not held to the same standards required by the NCC UDC code for DLU and Planning Board decisions. 
This example is from County Council overturning the Planning Board decision on a variance for the Walker Farm. Requested was a variance to allow 37 housing units on a cul-de-sac limited by code to 16 units. The Planning Board voted “no”. It was advertised on the council agenda as a decision on an interconnection to the adjoining neighborhood – not a variance to allow a 100% increase houses on a cul-de-sac.This quote is from the current business minutes from the Planning Board meeting of Feb. 19, 2013, after Council overturned the Planning Board decision:
the Dept. confirmed that it was the excess number of dwelling units on the dl-de-sac that was at issue. It was also noted that the standard used by County Council to overturn the appeal was a much less difficult standard than the standards the Planning Board must address.” (Gen. Mgr. David Culver)

15). The Department of Land Use:
The LU Department Manager and/or other DLU employees have too much flexibility to make independent decisions and changes on approved plans. The Land Use General Manager should not be a position that serves at the pleasure of the County Executive. Neither DLU nor DelDOT take responsibility for transportation decisions. Current code requirements are not being followed.
16). Variance Process at the Board of Adjustment. 
We need to revisit this process. Sometimes, the applicant chooses to go to the Board of Adjustment before going through the Planning Board hearing. Other applications go to the Board of Adjustment after the Planning Board process but before County Council. Some choose to go to the Planning Board, then Council and finally go to the Board. of Adjustment. It is up to the applicant to decide what works best for their project.
A recent agenda for the Board of Adjustment had several items with three of those requiring multiple variances:
Royal Farms/MAA Real Estate.  12 variances
CCS Farms LLC  - 6 variances
Tupp Signs Inc. - 5 variances
Perhaps some consideration should be given to how many variances for a site are appropriate. Do too many variances suggest the project just simply doesn't fit the site? Should more attention be given to encouraging development to fit into the zoning and code requirements instead of changing/altering zoning and code requirements to fit the desired use of the property? Should all variances be in place and approved before Council votes?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Governor’s Gun Control Legislation Debate Tomorrow Night at 7PM in New Castle


The Civic League for New Castle County is proud to present the

Governor’s Gun Control Legislation Debate

Legislative proposals for the Delaware State Assembly:

  • Requiring Background Checks for Private Firearm Sales
  • Requiring the Reporting of Lost and Stolen Firearms
  • Banning the Sale, Manufacture, Delivery and Unlawful Possession of Large-Capacity Magazines
  • Banning the Manufacture, Sale, Delivery and Unlawful Possession of Military Weapons
  • Banning Possession of a Firearm Within 1,000 Feet of a School


  • Andrew Lippstone, Esq., Governor Markell’s Chief Legal Counsel 
  • Brenda Mayrack, Esq., Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence 
  • Anthony N. Delcollo, Esq., President, Delaware Association of Second Amendment Lawyers 
  • Mark Blake, Civic Leader and NRA lifetime member

March. 19, 2013
at 7:00 PM

Paul J. Sweeney
Public Safety Building
3601 N. DuPont Hwy
(Route 13)
New Castle, DE

Light refreshments will be served.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Newark Town Center - Stopyra Tract Rezoning Update

From Delaware Way -

Read more about the plan and civic umbrella group, CAPPA, in the October 2010 Civic League for New Castle County Comments HERE.

And here's an oldie but goodie from 2007 when Newark was considering annexation of the property.

I was able to speak in front of the New Castle County Council's Land Use Committee about Frank Acierno's Stopyra tract plan Tuesday after waiting for more than three hours. I mentioned that John Kowalko had called me earlier in the day to say that he and other area legislators were opposed to this rezoning. I noted that in the developer's exhibit - scope of the traffic impact study aerial view (as depicted in the image above) - showed the actual character of the community as residential, low impact shopping, churches and open space. The developer's attorney, Rich Abbott, cajoled that the text of the Comprehensive Plan allowed them to extrapolate the site's character as commercial by showing a diagram of miles and miles of the Kirkwood Highway transit corridor clear to Elsmere. Community character is one of the five criteria that must be met for approval of a rezoing in NCC. Recommendation was denied by both the Department of Land Use and the NCC Planning Board - thus the 2/3 majority council vote threshold for approval.

The CAPPA group was asked to make only a brief presentation to Council because of the lengthy agenda and so they gave a five minute talk in anticipation of having more time next Tuesday night. One other person got up to discuss the negative consequences of the intense use of the site on the natural areas nearby.

Here's the presser from the Delaware State House ~

Legislators ask new castle county council
to vote against rezoning
Six Newark-area legislators sign letter requesting zoning remain as-is
for Stopyra tract off Kirkwood Highway
NEWARK – Citing traffic and environmental concerns, six Newark-area legislators sent a letter Wednesday to New Castle County Council urging councilmembers to vote against a rezoning request that would allow developers to build a 345,000-square-foot shopping center on a tract of farmland along Kirkwood Highway.
Reps. Paul Baumbach, John Kowalko, Joseph Miro, Edward S. Osienski and Michael Ramone and Sen. David Sokola signed the letter, which states that the rezoning request for the Stopyra property is “inappropriate for that area.”
Rep. Baumbach said building a shopping center on the site is not viable and would have negative implications on the surrounding areas. The Delaware Department of Transportation’s traffic impact study predicts a near 50-percent increase in traffic on Capitol Trail/Kirkwood Highway. Additionally, leveling the property’s hillside terrain could lead to dangerous run-off problems and flooding.
“The downside of developing the Stopyra tract as requested far outweigh the benefits,” said Rep. Baumbach, D-Newark. “We have to consider the implications for the area’s residents. A 50-percent increase in traffic is simply unfathomable on Kirkwood Highway – already the fifth-most-congested roadway in the state. This is why the parcel is zoned as it is, and why the current zoning should stand. What’s also concerning is that the massive engineering project required to level the hillside could lead to major issues with water runoff and flooding. We don’t believe those are risks worth taking.”
New Castle County Council is scheduled to vote on the rezoning request at its February 12 meeting.
Plus, (WDEL) Amy Cherry reports ~ Newark lawmakers say no to shopping center on Kirkwood Highway
The Newark Democrat tells developers to look elsewhere to plan. "We've got plenty of properly zoned property up and down Kirkwood Highway; we do not need more of it," he says.
And to proponents who say the project is good for economic development, [Paul] Baumbach says...."If we need economic development, then we should be redeveloping the dark areas, the non-used areas, the vacancies up and down, redo shopping centers."