Weiner: Could village plan help Greenville? - Community News
By Andréa Miller
Posted Jun 29, 2008 @ 11:07 PM
Greenville, Del. —
Claymont was the first to get one. Hockessin was next. Centreville and St. George’s have one, too. Now, New Castle County Councilman Bob Weiner (R-Brandywine West) is asking if it is time to consider whether a Hometown Overlay would be good for Greenville’s retail district, too.
In 2004, recognizing that the Unified Development Code, a set of uniform county-wide building standards, made it difficult for older communities to maintain their sense of town character and place, the County adopted Hometown Overlay (HTO) legislation. An HTO allows older communities to draw boundaries around a designated Village area and create customized local design guidelines within it. It has been characterized as an economic development tool that can also help build a stronger sense of community and place.
Weiner introduced the concept of a Greenville Village at the end of a June 25 meeting he organized to hear from Greenville residents about three Stoltz Realty Partners development plans that lie within or near the southwestern corner of his district.
More than 200 showed up to St. Joseph’s on the Brandywine to ask questions and share concerns about the projects.
“I sense that people are frustrated and feel like their hands are tied,” Weiner said after the meeting.
“Now that the community sees what can happen when we are not protected, it is a good time to be asking” if it’s time to consider whether an additional layer of “quasi home rule” would give them more say in future development proposals, he said.
Setting up an HTO would be labor intensive for residents, would not cover areas outside of Greenville’s retail district, and, given the tough financial times in the County, the cost of hiring planners to develop a Village Plan would likely be borne by residents, he said.
And, once set up, it would not be a panacea, he and others involved in setting up the Centreville Village Plan agreed.
It would establish aesthetic guidelines for things like building facades, signage and landscaping, and it would establish a citizen board to oversee them, but developers would still have the right to develop according to code.
Residents had few questions about the village plan during the meeting, and Weiner said the next step is to let the idea incubate and see if local civic groups begin forming study groups to look into it further.
Back to the News Summary
Have news? Please contact me!