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3/14/2012
Montchanin rezone rejected; NCCo votes to keep deed restrictions that prevent more buildings - News Journal

Council members Bob Weiner, Tom Kovach, Joe Reda, Dave Tackett, Bill Bell, Penrose Hollins, Jea Street, Lisa Diller, John Cartier and Tim Sheldon voted against the zoning changes. Janet Kilpatrick, William Powers and George Smiley cast votes in favor of the measure.

Montchanin rezone rejected
NCCo votes to keep deed restrictions that prevent more buildings
Mar. 14, 2012 Written by ADAM TAYLOR The News Journal

Stoltz Real Estate Partners failed in their latest attempt to redevelop Greenville properties.

New Castle County Council overwhelmingly rejected the Pennsylvania developer's request Tuesday to construct two new buildings at 20 Montchanin Road.

By a 10-3 vote, the council denied a proposal to eliminate 43-year-old deed restrictions that prevented additional buildings at the 19.8-acre property and replace them with a new set of restrictions.

Council members Bob Weiner, Tom Kovach, Joe Reda, Dave Tackett, Bill Bell, Penrose Hollins, Jea Street, Lisa Diller, John Cartier and Tim Sheldon voted against the zoning changes. Janet Kilpatrick, William Powers and George Smiley cast votes in favor of the measure.

Hollins said the restrictions have worked for more than 40 years and the only change in the property is the owner.

"That is simply not enough," Hollins said. "The current deed restrictions are not broken and I don't believe that we as a council should risk the protection of the area because of that."

The historic property at Montchanin Road and Del. 141 is part of the gateway to the historic Brandywine Valley. St. Joseph's on the Brandywine Roman Catholic Church is across the street from the property, as is the entrance to Hagley Museum.

The issue has divided the Greenville community. Citizens for Responsible Growth favored new restrictions, while the Save Our County Coalition wanted the old ones to remain.

Tom Dewson from Save Our County was elated at the board's vote.

"They put in a lot of time to clearly weigh the facts and make a difference," he said.

Stoltz spokesman Tom Gailey declined to comment immediately after the vote.

Stoltz had received government approvals for three area projects -- redeveloping the Barley Mill Plaza office complex and making improvements at Greenville Center and the former Kirkwood Fitness Club.

During three hours of testimony prior to the vote, retired physician Lois Dow spoke in favor of the proposed changes.

The only reason the old deed restrictions worked was because Columbia Gas and MBNA were benevolent owners, but Stoltz is not, she said.

The site's 135,000-square-foot building was the headquarters of Columbia Gas and later was an MBNA office building. Deed restrictions allow no new buildings on the site, but Stoltz can add extra space to the structure.

Stoltz had hoped to build a 6,000-square-foot building and a third building in the future.

Citizens for Responsible Growth suggested that allowing the new construction would have averted high-density development on the property in the future. 
Under the current deed restrictions, Stoltz is allowed to tear the current building down and move closer to Montchanin Road.

The developer may also purchase the adjoining Raskob Estate and try to build a large commercial center on the properties, the group said.

Contact Adam Taylor at 324-2787 or ataylor@delawareonline.com.

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