prepares to enter the last year of his third two-year term as
its president, Daniel Bockover said the Council of Civic
Organizations of Brandywine Hundred said he expects the focus of
the coming program year to be on 'infill' and redevelopment.
more and more pressure to try to build on every little piece of
land," he said. "That's works out all right where there's room
but what we have to be careful about are the ones who say, 'Can
you change the rules a little bit'."
become common, particularly along Shipley and Marsh Roads for
owners of larger tracts to see to divide them and erect an
additional house or two. Because of the placement of existing
structures, shape of the parcel and other factors, the math
doesn't always work out. That leads to appeals to the county
Board of Adjustment for variances from setback, buffer and other
permissions usually appear to be minor -- a foot or two here and
there -- and no cause for alarm, but cumulatively they can pose
problems, Bockover said. "You have to judge each one
individually, to see how it relates to what's around it. There
can't be a hard-and-fast rule that you apply to all cases.
Sometimes it takes the wisdom of Solomon to decide these
premise on which Brandywine Council will operate, he said, is
"be very careful in making exceptions." It is necessary,
however, to be equally wary about opposing legitimate proposals,
including some that don't quite measure up to the development
code. "When a [parcel] has been open for a long time, neighbors
might tend to think it should always remain open and that they
have a right to keep it open," he said.
deciding whether to support or oppose a given proposal, it is
necessary to weigh likely effects against the rights of property
owners to seek full value, he added. Economic development -- in
particular, the Astra Zeneca expansion -- will have a major
favorable impact on property values in the near future and lead
to calls for Brandywine Council to become involved in making
those decisions, he predicted.
that it is capable of doing so objectively and that it is
willing to hear out all sides before taking a position.
no contradiction, he maintained, in the council's separate
decisions to support removal of an old farmhouse to make room
for development of the Talley family property at Foulk at
Shipley Roads and to oppose, to the point of leading an
unsuccessful court suit, expansion of a synagogue property
opposite Green Acres on Silverside Road. "Sure, everybody would
prefer to see open space, and the flower garden they used to
have, on that corner, but the house had no particular [historic]
value and there was no reason why we should stand in the way [of
development of the property]," he said. "The synagogue was a
different matter. They don't have room for the parking they need
for some of the events they'll have there to avoid [encroaching]
on the neighborhood."
Objectivity may be tested soon with expectations the council is
about to hear, as early as its Sept. 12 meeting, a proposal for
residential development of the section of former Brandywine
Raceway property along Naamans Road between Brandywine Town
Center and Concord High School.
have any details yet, except that we know there is [a developer]
interested in buying the property and putting houses there,"
Bockover said. The land is zoned to permit residential
Brandywine Council waged a long and hard-fought -- albeit losing
-- battle against development of Brandywine Town Center by the
corporate interests of the late John Rollins and his widow
Michelle. It is still feeling the fallout. In July, the
council's long-time treasurer, Joseph Mitchell, resigned in
protest of the council's decision to hold a meeting in the
county-run community building there. During the academic year,
it meets in Brandywine High School.
we're sorry to loose Joe. He was our treasurer for 15 years and
we certainly would like to have him come back and be active. But
that was a small issue," he said.
his position is basically that the fight is over and it is time
to move on. "The Town Center is there. There's nothing we can do
about it now, so we want it to be successful. We don't want to
end up with it becoming another [Wilmington] Merchandise Mart."
are still some people who won't patronize the stores that are
there and who are surprised to find out that I do," he said.
Brandywine Council's decision of what stand to take on the
proposed residential development will not be clouded by the past
controversy, Bockover promised.
redevelopment of older properties, he said the council is
generally supportive of the concept but has adopted a
'wait-and-see' attitude toward how the county's new
redevelopment ordinance is applied.
of the land-use area, Brandywine Council has several other
issues on its plate, Bockover said. "We're not just about
zoning; our committees are into a lot of other things."
Sidewalks -- The goal, he said, is to have them along every
connector road in the hundred. "We're not worried about them
inside the developments because traffic isn't bad there. But we
think you should be able to walk between developments without
having to walk out onto the roads," he said.
The Blue Ball project -- Bockover said he and others still favor
constructing a "tight, cloverleaf" interchange to replace the
Concord Pike-Foulk Road intersection in lieu of the planed
highway complex in the area and substituting an overhead bridge
for the tunnel intended to carry the Northern Delaware Greenway
under Concord Pike. "Imagine the view walkers would enjoy from
up there," he said.
consideration in building both the road and the greenway
connection is the amount of blasting that will be necessary to
clear rocks in the area. "I'm not sure they have fully
considered the effects that will have, both on the houses in
Alapocas and the [Porter] reservoir," he said.
Tyler McConnell Bridge -- He said the council opposes further
delays and possible rethinking of the plan to erect a new
two-lane bridge parallel to the existing one in light of
historic and environmental objections. "Except maybe for a few
people who don't want anything [built] I don't think there is
anybody who doesn't say, 'Get on with it and build it now'," he
Claymont's air pollution problems -- Chemical emissions from the
industrial complex along the Delaware River at the Pennsylvania
border affect all of Brandywine Hundred, he said. "Claymont is
part of Brandywine Hundred and we are fully supportive of
addressing those concerns."
School district swimming pools -- "We want [Brandywine School
District] to rewrite its fee structure and change its facilities
policy to make those assets available to the public on a
reasonable basis," he said.