essentially there," Jim Smith, assistant general manager of the
Department of Land Use, told a meeting of the Greater Hockessin
Area Development Association.
Councilman William Tansey intends to introduce the enabling
ordinance in the form of a rezoning imposing a 'hometown
overlay' at Council's meeting on June 22. That will be followed
by a public hearing in early August before the Planning Board
and expected enactment by Council when it considers rezonings in
told Delaforum that he does not look for any significant
opposition to passage. "Most of the people in the
community are on board," he said. "There are enough of
incentives in there for businesses and [other] property owners"
to be comfortable with the additional steps that will be
required to obtain approval for further developing or
redeveloping their properties.
expects to be joined in its 'hometown' status by Claymont,
which, as Delaforum previously reported, is looking to have a
similar plan presented to Council, probably in July.
everything goes as expected, the two communities will be the
first unincorporated areas in New Castle County to be given
jurisdiction over placement, appearance and other aspects of new
construction. They and several other places have long had
recognized identities, but, legally speaking, existed in name
only. Council recently enacted landmark legislation to modify
Hockessin area civic association did not take a vote on the
proposed plan. It was obvious, however, that attenders at the
meeting on May 24 agreed with it. The only comments during a
brief discussion period following Smith's presentation had to do
with a soon-to-be-started study of White Clay Creek, which is
peripheral to but not actually part of the plan.
said a vote was not necessary because "we've been at this for
more than two years" and interested residents have been kept
involved and informed as the plan come together and was
modified. All that remains to be done to come up with the final
version is a series of private consultations with property
owners and residents directly affected, he said.
to be covered by the overlay extends in an irregular pattern
along Lancaster Pike and Old Lancaster Pike between Valley Road
and Erickson Avenue. Smith described that as embracing
commercial activity of a regional nature along the pike;
'lighter' locally-oriented commercial along the older road; and
residential uses both above commercial establishments and on the
periphery of the area.
Delaforum after the meeting that, so far, "we haven't gotten
around to" establishing a design review advisory committee to
rule on proposed development projects. Candidates for
appointment to the five-to-nine-member panel will be sought over
the summer, he said. The law calls for them to be appointed by
the county executive and confirmed by County Council.
there is no question that approval of the Hockessin Village Plan
will be significant -- and in a sense, historical -- Smith
cautioned attenders at the meeting against expecting any
immediate or dramatic results. There is no retroactivity
involved and implementation of design standards and the like
will be gradual as proposed projects are brought forth, he said.
not looking to take anything away from anybody. ... These are
guidelines to be applied going forward," he said. The emphasis
will be on promoting voluntary compliance in return for
incentives having to do with such things as density, parking
requirements, building set-backs and the like.
displayed at the meeting said that buildings should be designed
to be "appropriate to [their] place" and "harmonious" with the
surrounding community. However, it added, "respect for tradition
should not rule out innovation and bold statement."
told the meeting that one long-term objective is "to eradicate
has already affected some pending public projects. Delaware
Department of Transportation has designed safety improvements to
Lancaster Pike and 'traffic enhancements' along Old Lancaster
Pike to, in part, comply with the plan. In designing a large
expansion of the parking lot at Swift Park, the county
Department of Special Services agreed to extend it behind
properties along Old Lancaster Pike "to allow people to get out
of their cars and walk" to the commercial establishments, Smith