not so much a contradiction as it is a case of having to apply
present-day techniques to avoid the consequences of reverting to
a laissez-faire approach, which, depending on which architecture
or purpose is being evaluated, may or may not have worked in the
Mastrangelo, the Department of Land Use's liaison with the
Claymont Renaissance steering committee, told a committee
meeting on July 15 that, with the approval of a 'hometown'
zoning overlay, contents of a detailed design manual will be the
basis on which a design review committee will evaluate future
development and redevelopment plans.
manual, he said, will be incorporated by reference in an
enabling ordinance into the Uniform Development Code and will be
enforced the same way as other provisions in that law. A
does not comply with an agreement worked out with
the committee, for instance, would not be granted a certificate
not to say that the process is intended to be confrontational,
said Tom Comitta, the community planner hired by the renaissance
to develop both the plan and the manual.
Charleston, S.C., where results of a traditionalist approach to
development have made the city a national attraction. "They've
done it with generalized enabling legislation and through
'friendly persuasion'," he said. "Since 1976, not one building
has been torn down."
a much smaller scale, Claymont and Hockessin are expected to
obtain 'hometown' status for portions of their community when
County Council acts on the recently introduced ordinance at its
next thrice-a-year rezoning session in October. Before that, the
ordinances will be subjects of a Planning Board hearing and
said that, in Claymont's case, the area selected for inclusion
in the 'hometown' overlay was along Philadelphia Pike between
Perkins Run and the Interstate 495 interchange. In addition to
properties fronting on the highway, the area was extended
perpendicularly to include older neighborhoods with what are
considered distinctive appearances.
that the heart of the area is 'Claymont center', which is
actually at the north end of the overlay, which meets the
accepted community planning definition of a 'main street' as
extending a 'walkable distance' of from between three to seven
'hometown' districts will be centered on
Philadelphia Pike in Claymont (above) and Old
Lancaster Pike in Hockessin.
appendix in the respective ordinances.]
Mastrangelo said his department is putting the finishing touches
on the plan and design manual and expects to have them competed
by July 23 in time for members of the Planning Board and
community residents to have an opportunity to review them before
the hearing, which is secheduled for Aug. 2.
said the manual will include precise guides concerning such
details as acceptable building material and appearance.
into such detail is necessary, according to George Lossť,
chairman of the steering committee. "If we expect people to
build like we want, we have to tell them what we want," he said.
Mastrangelo said it will be necessary to line up five to nine
candidates to serve as the design review committee in time for
them to be appointed by the county executive and confirmed by
Council before the new zoning goes into effect.
for an architect and possible a landscape architect, members of
the committee must be residents of the community, he said. That
does not mean they must live in or have a business located in
the irregular boundaries of the overlay, but do so in the area
generally regarded as the community. In Claymont's case, he
said, that is the 19703 postal zip code area; in Hockessin it is
the boundary established as its jurisdiction by the Greater
Hockessin Economic Development Association.
committee, he said, will consider only plans submitted after the
overlay goes into effect. It cannot require retrofitting of
existing buildings or properties. Comitta said that at least one
potential development -- involving the Goodwill Industries store
at Philadelphia Pike and Harvey Road -- has come forward to
agree to comply with the new standards.
also possible that a developer could go around the committee to
seek variances from provisions of the manual through the Board
of Adjustment. But Mastrangelo said it is unlikely that board
would approve a variance over the serious objection by the
Saddler, president of the Claymont Business Owners Association,
said that the new economic development organization expects to
be up and running before the overlay goes into effect. Its
mission will be to attract investment and business development
in the community, he said.
completely unofficial a preference exercise conducted at the
steering committee's June meeting may have provided an insight
into what community activists want. Comitta said the unanimous
choices as 'most favored' by the 23 participants were a bakery
and an ice cream parlor. At the bottom of the list were a
Wal-Mart store and a tattoo parlor.