about size dominated most of the agenda when officers of
umbrella civic groups met with County Executive Tom Gordon on
Mar. 6. It centered mostly around proposals to locate new
establishments along Philadelphia Pike on Penny Hill and in
Claymont. Civic associations at both places are opposing the
part, the opposition stems from the fact that small neighborhood
convenience stores, both here and elsewhere, have significantly
outgrown their role as contemporary equivalents to the old
corner grocery stores which proliferated in city neighborhoods.
Specifically, they now include several gasoline pumps.
to be that gas stations sold gas and [convenience stores] sold
food. Now the gas stations [also] sell you food and the stores
sell you gas," Gordon said.
itself, may not bad, but the locations where that is likely to
happen poses problems, he and Charles Baker, general manager of
the county's Department of Land Use, agreed.
the nub of the community dispute over Southland Corp.'s plans to
locate a Seven-Eleven outlet at Lore Avenue, midway up Penny
Hill. Not only is the site hard up against a long-established
residential neighborhood but the project also would require
demolition of a farmhouse deemed historic and create traffic and
potential noise and crime problems, according to Jonathan
Husband, president of the Fox Point Association.
traffic issue is one that Delaware Department of Transportation
is reluctant to address beyond attempting to impose access and
egress restrictions that, in many cases, are not observed and
thereby create additional problems. Ken Murphy, president of the
Greater Hockessin Area Development Association said that drivers
routinely ignore no-left-turn signs or make unsafe U-turns.
that, Baker said, "DelDOT doesn't feel it can say no" when asked
to approve the traffic aspects of a development plan, because of
fear of an outright rejection being challenged as an illegal
solution, he said, might lie in the county's regulating certain
uses, such as those that by their nature generate large volumes
of traffic, in apparently inappropriate locations, such as
residential neighborhoods. He also mentioned large child-care
facilities in the midst of residential neighborhoods, which are
not covered by requirements that they be located only on main
thoroughfares, which apply to churches, schools and the like.
Unified Development Code, convenience stores are permitted in
areas zoned 'neighborhood commercial. That, he said, might have
to be changed to reflect their current configuration and size.
"Times are changing, but we don't want to let them get out of
control," said Lee Hoffman, president of the Milltown-Limestone
said his staff will look into the matter to see how it might
best be handled.
other hand, he added, the public has demonstrated by its
patronage that "there is a demand for [them] and they have to be
able to go someplace" that is appropriate for them to fill their
primary role as suppliers to customers in relativly small and
Lossť, president of the Claymont Community Coalition, said
that reflects his group's position on plans by Wawa Food Markets
to tear down the former Brosius Eliason building at
Philadelphia Pike and Harvey Road and build a 'super store'
there. "We have no objection to Wawa coming in. We just want it
to fit in with what we're trying to do in our community," he
coalition has opposed the company's plan to locate the bays
containing the gasoline pumps in front of the establishment in
favor of their being placed at the rear.
different context, Daniel Bockover, president of the Council of
Civic Organizations of Brandywine Hundred, called at the meeting
for support for that group's efforts to repeal the state law
which provides for expanding New Castle County Council from its
present six district members and a president elected at large to
one with 12 members and a president.
we work together and stop this thing by June 30 ... the state is
going to give this to you and you're going to pay for it," he
said. June 30 is when the General Assembly completes its session
and presumably would be the latest that it could act to change
the expansion law, which goes into effect for the 2004 election.
Council's executive committee is about to begin establishing the
procedure for reapportioning the county to provide the required
Narcowich, president of the Civic League for New Castle County,
said that group favors enlarging Council to nine members, plus a
president, to reflect the growth of the county since the present
configuration was set in the 1960s. With state representatives
representing districts with average populations of 13,000
people, it would be unrealistic to expect them to justify having
Council members speak for an average of 83,000, he said.
took objection to that. "If you fuss around with [accepting]
anything other than doubling, you're going to get doubling," he
that undesirable for several reasons, especially cost. "They
will get the same pay for half the work. That is what's driving
this," he said. With the number of rezoning requests
significantly reduced by the development code, "they have less
work to do now that they've ever had."