Representative Wayne Smith said he plans to introduce
legislation that would establish a five-member board to deal
with land-use matters in the community. He referred to that as
"limited incorporation" on a model not used by any of the other
municipalities in the state.
reported by Delaforum, Smith's expressed motivation is to give
Claymonters control over zoning, development and redevelopment
matters in the area defined by U.S. Postal Service's 19703 zip
scheduled to present his proposal at a meeting of the Claymont
Coalition on June 19, but he was tied up in Dover, where the
General Assembly was working overtime to wrap up this years
session. He is Republican majority leader in the House of
to attend the coalition's July meeting and to hold off
introduction of any legislation until afterwards. That means
that nothing can happen until at least next January.
Councilman Robert Weiner, who also represents Claymont, told
about 35 attenders at the meeting that both he and County
Executive Tom Gordon are against the idea. "We have all that
without incorporating," Weiner said, referring to a system of
'design standards' now being developed, which county planners
would apply to projects in specific communities. The standards
for Claymont, he said, will be crafted by a process which will
involve several public hearings.
relying on the expertise of professional planners in the
Department of Land Use "is better than a town council of five
well-meaning but [inexpert] people who have the say over
land-use decisions." Smith previously told Delaforum that his
proposal would provide that the Claymont land-use board
determine policy while using the county department to deal with
application and technical aspects of the applications.
specifically addressing that, Weiner said "the county doesn't
invest in the [municipalities], it invests in the unincorporated
said he respects Smith as a lawmaker who listens to and is
guided by the wishes of his constituents. "He is differential to
the community. I'm sure he thinks he is doing the right thing,"
Weiner said. On the other hand, he added, "if Wayne Smith wants
[legislation] to pass, it will pass."
mostly asked questions about details of Smith's proposal -- most
of which could not be answered in his absence -- but the tone of
their remarks indicated they were opposed to any form of
incorporation. No one made any remarks which could be connoted
as being in support of such a move.
president George Lossť, said he is inclined not to support
incorporation but will withhold judgment on the issued until
hearing Smith's presentation.
said he did not want to engage in a one-sided debate, but he
generally derided the concept of small municipalities. "With
small-town politics, such as they have in Newport and Elsmere,
they are always feuding and fighting," he said. One attender
pointed out that an incorporated Claymont would rank, by
population, as the state's fourth largest municipality, behind
Wilmington, Newark and Dover.
Dewey Beach in Sussex County, Weiner said residents there were
promised small government and no taxes when they agreed to
incorporate 10 years ago but "every year [since] both the
government and taxes have grown," he said. Bellefonte, he said,
is considering disincorporating because it finds itself unable
to pay for services such as routine police protection. County
police are providing emergency response service.
he said, have ruled that small jurisdictions with land-use
powers must provide a full range of development options. "You'd
have to provide for adult entertainment. With the county, we
have our adult-entertainment zone on South Market Street, but
you'd have to have one here too," he said.