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County finishing Greenville design study - News Journal

Xerxes Wilson, The News Journal 7:21 a.m. EDT April 10, 2015

New Castle County land planners are finishing guidelines for future development in Greenville.

The Greenville Village Study is being written to provide a long-range vision for the area, with the goal of preserving the rustic and scenic feel, said County Councilman Bob Weiner, whose district includes the community.

"It is a special area, and it needs immediate attention," he said. "There is zoning right now in the Greenville district that permits 12-story towers being built."

A draft of the study was submitted late last month. If adopted by the New Castle County Council, it will act as a blueprint for county officials considering future projects, outlining standards for kinds of buildings, transportation flow, streetscapes, parking and other elements. The standards may be adopted into future zoning law.

Areas examined include Montchanin Road, Kennett Pike, the area near Lower Brandywine Presbyterian Church and the commercial area around Alexis I. du Pont High School.

Among the recommendations are:

• Encouraging the addition of mixed-use buildings in the commercial area.

• Establishing rules to make sure roadside views of open fields, stone walls and forests are maintained.

• Creating a street and block network and designing streets to slow vehicles and accommodate bikes and pedestrians.

• Having standards so buildings are constructed using existing topography instead of relying on grading and engineering building sites.

• Regulating how buildings on the National Register of Historic Places can be altered.

The study calls for Greenville to become a hub for increased tourism and expanded recreational beyond just a retail center for local residents. The recommendations were gathered from public meetings.

Greenville has been the scene of several land-use battles in recent years, including intense opposition over plans to develop a 92-acre former DuPont Co. site on Del. 141 into Barley Mill Plaza, a commercial project. In 2013, a plan to develop 12 homes on former Phillies owner Ruly Carpenter's property along the Brandywine Valley National Scenic Byway also was protested.

Land Use General Manager Eileen Fogarty said the department will seek public input on the draft suggestions before they move to implementation. It is unclear how the suggestions in the study will make their way into law, but Fogarty said that process would begin over the coming months.

The suggestions could be incorporated into the design review process for local projects or the county could create an overlay district that would lay out specific rules for the geographic area. Weiner has previously proposed an overlay district and said he feels that would offer the most protection for the historic, recreational and cultural aspects of the area.

The close look by county Land Use at Greenville is being conducted as a larger partnership of conservation, civic and government groups known as the Brandywine Valley National Scenic Byway Partnership, which is discussing similar regulatory suggestions for the entire Brandywine Byway. The partnership will discuss its proposed regulations for the larger byway at a public meeting next week.

Weiner said the goal is make sure Greenville maintains its charm.

"None of this is aimed at stopping development, it is just aimed at protecting the area's cultural assets," he said.

Contact Xerxes Wilson at (302) 324-2787 or Follow @Ber_Xerxes on Twitter.

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