Councilman Bob Weiner Editorial: Stoltz plans are not a 'fait accompli' - Community News
Stoltz plans are not a 'fait accompli'
Contrary to the impression created by the Stoltz organization, final approval for neither construction of a “King of Prussia-sized” complex at Barley Mill Plaza nor for a 12-story building at Greenville Center is a done deal.
The New Castle County Land Use Department gave conditional approval after a March 3 hearing for the two pending plans. There are hurdles to clear before final approval.
First, Stoltz has to convince the department that its mixed use plans are consistent with the intent of the county’s Unified Development Code (UDC).
Mixed use plans are afforded extra density to encourage transit-oriented walkable villages. Citizens for Responsible Growth (CRG), an alliance of civic groups from Greenville, Centreville and Brandywine Hundred, recently filed a 20-page “Request for Interpretation” that highlights, with legal citations, numerous ways the Stoltz plans violate the UDC’s mixed use requirements.
Second, the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) has not approved the plans. The regional traffic engineering firm, Orth Rodgers Assoc., retained by CRG, has identified major flaws with some Greenville Center traffic data provided to DelDOT by Stoltz, and has encouraged CRG to take new counts, create a simulation showing how the Buck Road entrance is failing and demonstrate how traffic will worsen if expansion is approved. State legislators and I have written to DelDOT demanding that it not approve expanded use of the Buck Road entrance.
CRG has also engaged the land planning and design firm Torti Gallas and Partners for advice on the best mixed use design principals, and are raising funds for legal representation if the battle goes to court.
The Stoltz proposals for Barley Mill, Greenville Center and Concord Pike are mixed use plans in name only. They are auto-dominated commercial shopping centers with inferior design features and are not pedestrian-friendly. The plans will draw regional traffic, and we stand to lose the our country roads along the Brandywine River, which draw tourists and are treasured scenic and historic country roadways.
No commitment has been made by Stoltz to promptly commence and complete construction, with all its touted economic benefits. Financing for new construction will not be available until leases are signed for the stores, offices and apartments; and this won’t happen until economic recovery is under way.
The constructions’ touted new jobs would cannibalize older shopping centers by drawing on their worker pool. It would increase vacancies in older centers, causing blight with all its problems and diminished taxes. Recall what the development of Concord Mall did to eviscerate the old Merchandise Mart on Gov. Printz Blvd.
More shopping centers will deplete what little traffic capacity remains, land which could otherwise support high-wage employers. A group of prominent executives, active and retired, has come together to attract desirable employers to these sites.
It has been two months since the public hearing where Stoltz said it would file new scaled back plans that address community concerns. Why won’t Stoltz meet with community leaders? Where are these plans? When will we see them?
Our community leadership continues to offer to negotiate with Stoltz. With your continued support, our prospects of success are maximized so we can attain our goals: protection of our community character and responsible growth.
Visit bobweiner.com to learn more. To contribute to the CRG litigation fund visit crginnewcastlecounty.com.
Councilman Robert S. Weiner, (R-District 2)
Back to the News Summary
Have news? Please contact me!