extraordinary property in an extraordinary location" would
provide rich retirees "a comfortable neighborhood
environment similar to what they're used to for their later
years," John Dusling, of Springton Development Co., told a
community meeting attended by about 80 residents of the
Greenville area on Jan. 11.
a provision of the Unified Development Code which permits
clustering of residences, the company would erect between 50 and
70 free-standing and semidetached houses in the center of the
72.5-acre tract where the late Donald and Wilhelmina du Pont
Ross lived. Their estate has selected
as a potential purchaser of the property. The new houses
have 2,000 to 3,000 square feet of space on one floor
and sell for between $500,000 and $600,000.
is quite a demand for high-level retirement facilities.
Most of the operators now have fairly long waiting
lists," said John Bolling, who represents the
estate. He said the property definitely will be sold and
indicated that development is its only economically
Ross, who lived there for at least 60 years, discussed
Dusling, of Springton Development Co., describes the
age-restricted community for the affluent that his firm
wants to erect in Greenville,
possibility of putting a retirement community there before her
death, Bolling said.
Councilman Richard Abbott said present 'suburban estate' zoning
permits construction of single-family residences on two-acre
lots. Before the present development law was enacted three years
ago about two-thirds of the property was in a zoning category
that would have allowed construction on third-of-an-acre lots.
That would be comparable to what is now allowed in the
'suburban' classification, which also permits cluster
development, he noted.
zoning map adopted after the development code went into effect
has, in effect, 'downzoned' the property, Council could
determine by simple vote that fairness requires 'correcting' the
present classification. Abbott said he has not decided what his
position on doing so would be "until I hear what the
community wants." Support of the councilman who represents
an area generally is a prerequisite for Council as a whole to go
event, Abbott explained that the Ross estate and Springton could
seek concurrent approval of a conventional rezoning and a
said that an alternative to the retirement community would be to
put 32 houses on the large lots allowed by current zoning. The
downside of that would be that, although more palatial, they
would just about fill the property. That was the only point that
any meeting attender challenged. One woman suggested that
wetland, trees and other components of the property would
prohibit development to that density.
said that Springton would not be interested in the property
other than for an age-restricted community. "We don't do
anything else," he said.
buildings would be "nestled down in the hollow" at
about the center of the property and scarcely visible from
outside, he said. Moreover, he added, conventional development
would result in "the only open space [being] the front
yards and the back yards of the individual houses."
described the proposed community, there would be a private road
leading into the cluster, preferably connecting with Buck Road
and not more heavily traveled Montchanin Road, where the Rosses
had their driveway. The exiting Ross house and barn would be converted
into communal facilities like a clubhouse and exercise unit.
Those structures probably would be torn down if a conventional
community is put up, he said.
would be no assisted-living or medical care on the site "or
anything else that would be institutional." However, those
kinds of services would be made available under contracts with
providers already located in the vicinity.
said houses would be sold as 'age-restricted housing' only to
persons 55 years of age and older. Such clientele would fit
easily into the neighborhood. "They don't have loud parties
or kids taking up room in the schools," he said.
their quarters would come with two- and possibly three-car
garages, they would not contribute significantly to traffic
volume in the area. "Fortunately, seniors don't have to
commute to work so they do all their driving in the middle of
the day when there is less traffic on the roads," he said.