Forwood said Forwood School Associates, a partnership of
himself, his brother Albert, and his sisters, Marty Johnson and
Betty Harvey, would prefer having the 11-acre tract rezoned and
building a 60,000-square-foot professional office building, a
branch bank and two 24-unit age-restricted townhouse-style
apartment or condominium buildings there.
that, he said, the family members will exercise their right
under present zoning to construct up to about 50
Either way, he declared adamantly at
a meeting of the Graylyn Crest Civic Association on May 12,
property is going to be developed."
Several years ago, the Forwoods
unsuccessfully sought a rezoning for a combination of commercial
and residential uses. That proposal was opposed by residents of
Graylyn Crest and other communities in the vicinity.
Bob Forwood explained that his
father, also Albert, left the property to his adult children to
assure their well-being and security in their advanced years.
Because they are growing older, "we have gotten to the point
where we have to move forward with some development," he said.
This building off
Silverside Road is said to have housed one of the nation's
first free public schools.
to get the full current value" from the property.
the civic association to decide between the options. "It's going
to be [the office-apartment plan] or it's going to be developed
the way it's now zoned. We can't wait any longer," he said.
proposition was made earlier to the civic association in
Glenside Farms. Both communities abut the present Forwood
property. They are on land which was part of a farm owned by the
present generation's grandfather and was sold sold to developers
in the 1950s.
Councilman Robert Weiner, who would have to sponsor any
rezoning, said he will be guided in whether to do so by
community wishes. "I am not going to introduce any change in
zoning unless the community wants it, he said. But, he noted
that the Forwoods have the legal right to proceed under existing
zoning as long as they comply with the technical requirements of
the Unified Development Code.. "We would all prefer that nothing
be done [to the property], but that is not an option," he said.
school building is believed to be the oldest extant building in
the original 13 states that had been used as a school. It was
donated in 1799 by the Forwoods' forebears -- who were pioneer
settlers in Brandywine Hundred -- for that purpose in what was
then an embryonic free public school movement. It served as a
proverbial rural one-room school until 1939, when Forwoods
purchased it back and converted it to a residence.
building currently is unoccupied. It had been the object of
complaints because of its neglected condition. The exterior and
the land around it has been cleared up and cleaned up in recent
months. The interior reportedly is in poor condition. The
building's landmark status is unclear, but it falls well
within the preservation criteria of New Castle County's historic
interested in persuading community residents to buy into the
office building-apartment plan, Bob Forwood said preservation of
the building is part of the proposal. He said its future use has
not yet been determined, but that it will not be for commercial
feature of the plan would be the building of a service road
through the property that would connect the adjoining Shops of
Graylyn shopping center with Silverside Road at an intersection
adjacent to the Silverside Dairy property directly across from
the entrance to Branmar Plaza, another shopping center. Forwood
said Delaware Department of Transportation has informed him that
it plans safety improvements for that part of Silverside Road.
Among other things, they will eliminate access to the Shops of
Graylyn from the westbound lanes of Silverside Road and left
turns onto Silverside Road from the shopping center.
office building would be situated so as to block a view of the
unattractive rear of the strip shopping center and both it and
the residential buildings would be three stories high, one fewer
than permitted the property code.
though Glenside Farms which on DelDOT's maps extends through the
Forwood property would remain unbuilt and the Graylyn Crest side
of the developed tract would be left undeveloped. "They get to
keep their [limited use] road and you get the green space,"
Forwood told some 40 Graylyn Crest residents who came to the
not say what would be done with the school building and
designated roads if that plan is rejected and the townhouses
built. The Forwoods would have only partial control over their