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3/16/2010
Residents question Stoltz plans; Hockessin neighbors object to traffic from Barley Mill Plaza project - News Journal

New Castle County Councilman Robert Weiner, whose district includes the neighborhoods around Barley Mill Plaza, has opposed the project because, he said, it will not be a walkable community. Weiner has suggested that citizens take legal action against Stoltz.

Residents question Stoltz plans
Hockessin neighbors object to traffic from Barley Mill Plaza project
BY IRA PORTER • THE NEWS JOURNAL • MARCH 16, 2010

Residents at Monday's meeting of the Greater Hockessin Area Development Association voiced objections to the proposed redevelopment of Barley Mill Plaza while others asked questions of Stoltz Real Estate Partners about their plans.

Stoltz Chief Operating Officer Brad Coburn told audience members worried about traffic congestion the development could cause that the 2.9 million square feet of retail, office and residential space was not going to be like the King of Prussia Mall in Pennsylvania.

"It's not a mall. This will be mixed use," Coburn said, adding that about 1.4 million square feet would be used for office space.

He said the DuPont Co. is there now and Stoltz wishes to keep it there. Coburn said 700,000 square feet would be used for commercial space and another 700,000 would be set aside for residential space. The residences would be condos or apartments, but it is too soon to tell, he said.

"When all this is approved, we are looking at a 10- to 15-year build out," Coburn said.

Suzanne Boucher said she's worried about what increased traffic could do to her commute.

"Barley Mill Plaza is down the road from us. It's brutal getting in and out of Hockessin," Boucher said. "Traffic bottlenecks at eight in the morning. It bottlenecks in the afternoon. If you're going to go ahead with that size of mixed-use project, I can't imagine what it's going to be."

Nancy Willing of Newark and others accused Stoltz of working with New Castle County to change redevelopment rules.

The comments at the meeting are the latest lodged by local groups with objections to the project, including Citizens for Responsible Growth, who have gone back and forth with Stoltz since the company announced plans in March 2008 to develop the site.

Stoltz Real Estate Partners of Bala Cynwyd, Pa., wants to use that space and the Greenville Shopping Center at Kennett Pike and Buck Road.

Some residents approached the developer about shrinking the project to 1.6 million square feet, and spent $30,000 of their own money to hire consultants to make up alternative designs for the site.

In December, Mark Chura, who leads Citizens for Responsible Growth, said Stoltz was not being required to do a traffic study for road improvements in case traffic increases substantially.

At the meeting, however, Coburn said a study will be done by the Delaware Department of Transportation and Stoltz will be responsible for paying for any necessary road improvements.

New Castle County Councilman Robert Weiner, whose district includes the neighborhoods around Barley Mill Plaza, has opposed the project because, he said, it will not be a walkable community. Weiner has suggested that citizens take legal action against Stoltz.

Contact Ira Porter at 324-2890 or iporter@delawareonline.com.

 

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"Iíd like to express my appreciation to Councilman Bob Weiner who exhibits strength, determination and fortitude and is always on the side of the people. I followed Bobís actions when he was head of CCOBH's zoning committee and made strong efforts to try to stop the Brandywine Town Center construction. He has continued with energy and zeal in many pivotal positions in spite of enduring a lot of negative professional and personal attacks. I appreciate that he is never deterred."

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