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RECOMMENDATION Powered By Docstoc
					The New Castle County Land Use Department and
Planning Board issued a CONDITIONAL APPROVAL
RECOMMENDATION regarding the Brookview Rezoning.
The Brookview Rezoning is scheduled for a vote
before New Castle County Council on Tuesday June 13
at   our  7   PM   meeting  in   Council  Chambers,
City/County
Building in Wilmington.




                               RECOMMENDATION
                                ORDINANCE 06-013
                             APPLICATION 05-1335-S/Z
                                  BROOKVIEW
                                   May 16, 2006
DESCRIPTION
Location: Brandywine Hundred, west side Darley Road, north of Philadelphia Pike south
                      of I-95 and east of Seminole Avenue
Councilperson: John J. Cartier, Council District 8
Rezoning: 50.03 acres from NCga (Neighborhood Conservation – Garden Apartments) to
                      ST (Suburban Transition) and 15.25 acres from NCga to CN
                      (Commercial Neighborhood)
Applicant: The Commonwealth Group
Setting Properties
________________________________________________________________________
_____
ZONING PATTERN
The property is surrounded by a mix of high density residential zoning districts including
NC5 and NC6.5 and the area along Philadelphia Pike is zoned both CN (Commercial
Neighborhood) and CR (commercial Regional). The SR zoning to the northeast is
indicative of county parkland and the S (Suburban) zoned land to the west is a former
school now converted to community center. The existing NCga is a UDC conversion
from the former R-3 zoning which was assigned to the Brookview property as original
New Castle County zoning in 1954.
DEVELOPMENT PATTERN
The community of Brookview was built in the early 1950’s and at that time was
considered a model courtyard community. More recently it is has come into a state of
disrepair and has gone from being an important part of the Claymont community to
becoming a blight on surrounding neighborhoods and negatively affecting property
values and reinvestment activities in the area. Recently added to the Claymont
Hometown Zoning Overlay, Brookview is now the major focus of a community wide
effort to revitalize the entire Claymont community. While Claymont has

historically enjoyed the benefits of its location along an important transportation corridor
that initially transformed the area into a summer refuge for wealthy Philadelphia families
and later into a suburban/industrial working community, today the Claymont community
is seeking a way to reinvent and redevelop itself as a modern urban town center by
building upon Claymont’s unique history, location, transportation infrastructure and
community character.
TECHNICAL ADVISORY AGENCY REVIEW
Most of the comments received from agencies on the Technical Advisory Committee
(TAC) were general in nature and did not identify any major issues. The following
agencies provided comments for the TAC report dated March 23, 2006:
New Castle County Special Services
DNREC
Office of the State Fire Marshall
Delaware Health and Social Services, Office of Drinking Water
Delaware Department of Agriculture
DNREC, Air quality Management
DelDOT
The most significant comments from the TAC agencies was submitted by the Air Quality
Management Division of DNREC and suggested that there is a need to reduce air quality
emissions. It was recommended that the builder(s) consider energy star qualified homes
to mitigate this impact. DelDOT in a recent letter to the applicant has indicated its
support for a traffic impact study (TIS) waiver and has reinforced the requirement that the
main entrance to Brookview from Philadelphia Pike be constructed opposite Manor
Avenue. The applicant is also working closely with the State Fire Marshall to resolve
required on-street parking issues and the difficulties in providing fire protection under
those conditions.
BACKGROUND & ANALYSIS
The rezoning and preliminary plan approval for Brookview represents the culmination of
a major regulatory step in the initial revitalization efforts of the Claymont Renaissance.
The eventual construction of the neo-traditional neighborhood development to
incorporate a variety of residential dwelling types and a mix of office, commercial and
live-work building types consistent with the Claymont Community Redevelopment Plan
and Manual of Design Guidelines will likely create a mushrooming effect that will
encourage other redevelopment projects within this area. The goal of the Claymont
community after more than five years of public meetings is to recreate itself as an
energetic community where individuals and families from all walks of life and economic
status can live, work, play, shop, and worship.
In March 2004, New Castle County recognized the need to permit local citizens to
identify a geographical area that likely was settled and developed well-before the advent
of government zoning regulations and to create a plan with design guidelines to permit its
redevelopment without having to comply with many of the rigid countywide zoning
regulations. In October 2004, the Claymont Hometown Redevelopment Plan and Design
Guidelines were adopted by the
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
________ Department of Land Use and Planning Board Recommendation Report Page 2 Ordinance 06-013, Application 2005-1335-
S/Z, Brookview May 16, 2006
County and set in motion a set of local guidelines designed to complement the UDC, but
also to ensure that new infill, redevelopment and changes to the community’s zoning
pattern would be compatible with the historical development pattern and character of
Claymont. Although the Brookview community was not included in the initial
establishment of the Claymont Hometown Overlay, it was added by County Council in
February 2006.
The preliminary plan proposes up to 1,226 dwelling units and 41,704 square feet of
commercial gross floor area on over 65 acres of land. With only minimal frontage along
Philadelphia Pike, the plan will include retail mixed use buildings along Philadelphia
Pike to create the retail Main Street concept specified in the Claymont Community
Redevelopment Plan and proposes that Manor Avenue will include additional
retail/office/residential and live/work units to provide a transition into the community.
Other dwelling unit types spread throughout the community include townhouses,
duplexes, condominiums, and apartments.
The plan for Brookview is divided into a series of superblocks wherein each block is
designated to contain a certain number and type of dwelling unit. A note on the plan
designed to provide for flexibility in the ultimate build-out of the plan indicates that
approval of the preliminary plan anticipates that building types and numbers of dwelling
units in each block may be revised subject to conformity with the approved design
guidelines, including but not limited to minimum and maximum numbers and types of
dwelling units; and further, that proposed changes are subject to review and approval of
resubdivision plans by the Department of Land Use. While recent New Castle County
record plans require stringent conformity with approved plans, the combination of the
Hometown Overlay and the Claymont Community Redevelopment Plan and Design
Guidelines Manual permit the review and approval of a more flexible plan. The
Department is supportive of the idea to create some flexibility during the build-out of this
plan and will carefully review the wording of the note to insure that adequate County
control is maintained.
A major component of the plan is to provide a minimum of ten (10) percent of the total
housing units on-site as “work force housing” units and to provide and additional ten (10)
percent off-site. The term “work force housing” in this area of New Castle County will
translate to a purchase price of about $165,000. The term “work force housing” is meant
to define housing units that are affordable to those individuals or families that have just
entered the work force or have lower wage careers. The plan to provide for this type of
housing is the first of its kind in New Castle County and is the result of discussions and
debate with the Claymont community and appointed and elected officials.
The applicant is also working with the community and New Castle County to find
adequate and appropriate housing for the current residents of Brookview, many of whom
do not meet the income levels necessary to qualify for work force housing. And although
the numbers of on-site residents have decreased significantly in the past year, it is
expected that there will be a need to locate housing for those still residing on-site when
demolition is set to occur.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
________ Department of Land Use and Planning Board Recommendation Report Page 3 Ordinance 06-013, Application 2005-1335-
S/Z, Brookview May 16, 2006
Department/Planning Board Public Hearing Comments – April 4, 2006.
Several members of the public provided comments to the Board and Department at the
April 4, 2006 Public Hearing. Mr. Brett Sadler, president of the Claymont Renaissance
Development Corporation spoke in favor of the rezoning and plan and noted that the
applicants have been great partners with the Claymont community over the past year. Ms.
Carolyn Mercante, president of the Claymont Historical Society also spoke in favor of the
project and further noted that the applicant has worked hard to assist the local Brookview
residents in their efforts to find alternative housing. Both Mr. Sadler and Ms. Mercante
suggested that there is considerable interest and anticipation in the Claymont community
to see this project move forward.
Fritz Griesinger, a self-described community advocate, questioned the lack of community
support for this project, noting that very few people were in the audience to speak in
favor of the rezoning. He further noted that the recent adoption of the redevelopment
ordinance by County Council suggests that too many issues are fast-tracked through the
review process and that little or no effort is made to allow public comment. He suggested
that sewer capacity, flooding based on two-year storm engineering studies, increased
density and crime, fire protection, and impacts on adjacent property owners had not been
fully studied. Both the Department and the applicant provided clarifications and
corrections to the comments and further reminded all that this project is the end result of
a five year community-wide process in dozens of meetings with hundreds of people. With
respect to the known sewer issues in the Brandywine Hundred, the applicant noted that
the project received credits for the existing units and additional credits were provided in
connection with improvements to be completed by the developer to eliminate infiltration
problems.
Mr. Jonathon Rolf, representing the Brookview Tenants Council Executive Board
commented on the efforts to date to relocate the tenants of Brookview. He and the
executive board remain concerned that a comprehensive relocation plan for Brookview
tenants has yet to be approved and that the ten percent affordable housing component will
not meet the housing needs of the Brookview tenants. The applicant responded by noting
that every effort is being made to find alternative housing, including discussions with
Habitat for Humanity which can sometimes provide housing units for under $100,000. He
also clarified that the relocation plan is in constant flux and will in addition to making
every effort in finding the necessary housing will also provide relocation and moving
expenses as necessary.
Mr. George Losse, president of the Claymont Community Coalition reminded the public
and the Board that the community has been actively involved in all aspects of this plan
and other plans within Claymont. It has been a complete grass-roots effort for the past
five plus years with significant help from the County. In addition, the Brookview plan has
been the subject of a week-long workshop and public comment period and the result is
the plan on view at this hearing.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
________ Department of Land Use and Planning Board Recommendation Report Page 4 Ordinance 06-013, Application 2005-1335-
S/Z, Brookview May 16, 2006
DEPARTMENT LAND USE RECOMMENDATION
Similar to the Claymont community, the New Castle County Department of Land Use has
played an equally responsive role during the past five years from the start-up of the
Claymont redevelopment effort, the establishment of the enabling legislation for the
Hometown Overlay Zoning, the discussion, preparation and adoption of the Claymont
Community Redevelopment Plan and the Manual of Design Review Guidelines, and the
legislation necessary to include Brookview into the Claymont Hometown Overlay.
The Brookview plan as proposed is supportive and consistent with the goals and
objectives of the Claymont Community Redevelopment Plan and Manual of Design
Guidelines. The design flexibility that is inherent with this type of plan is likely to be the
most difficult aspect to control and manage, but the Department is certain that a sufficient
number of checks and balances can be put in motion through the building permit process
and continued monitoring by both the Department and the Claymont Design Review
Advisory Committee.
The March 23, 2006 Department of Land Use Preliminary Plan Report highlighted a
number of programs and processes still to be finalized. First is the process for insuring
that each phase of block be reviewed for compliance with the design guidelines. Second
is the final plan for providing for both the ten (10) percent on-site and ten (10) percent
off-site work force housing component; and, for proportional phasing and distribution of
the work-force housing throughout the Brookview site. Third is the goal of providing for
an overall homeownership rate of at least 70 or 73 percent to reflect the countywide and
Brandywine Hundred rates respectively.
In determining whether a zoning map amendment should be recommended or approved,
all of the following factors in Section 40.31.410 of the UDC shall be considered:
A. Consistency with the Comprehensive Development Plan and the purposes of this
Chapter.
The 2002 Comprehensive Plan designation for this area is existing commercial and high
density residential and will change to a mixed use designation to reflect the varied
housing units and types proposed along with the live-work and multi-story commercial
apartments that are a part of the plan. In addition, the 2002 Plan promotes the
redevelopment of existing properties where infrastructure is already in place and at
densities consistent with historical character of the community. The Brookview plan is
consistent with these goals and objectives and is also in compliance with the Claymont
Community Redevelopment Plan.
     B. Consistency with the character of the neighborhood.

Long before the creation of the Claymont Renaissance and the Claymont Community
Redevelopment plan, this area was a vibrant and active industrial and working class
community. Philadelphia Pike acted as its main street and contained all of the necessary
amenities. With the closing and downsizing of many local industries and the advent of
large regional shopping centers and malls, a gradual and steady decline of the various
neighborhoods and shopping areas occurred. The Brookview Plan represents an
opportunity envisioned by the Claymont
        ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
        ________ Department of Land Use and Planning Board Recommendation Report Page 5 Ordinance 06-013, Application 2005-1335-
        S/Z, Brookview May 16, 2006
        community leaders and residents to revitalize the area and bring back those times when
        people walked to shopping and work and invested capital into the community. Brookview
        will establish a density and mix of uses necessary to create an environment that supports
        the community and provides products and services that had disappeared. The plan is
        consistent with the historical development character of the community and with the
        visions of a new and reinvented Claymont as envisioned by the Claymont Community
        Redevelopment Plan.
        C. Consistency with zoning and use of nearby properties.
        The ST (Suburban Transition) and CN (Commercial Neighborhood) zoning districts in
        combination with the Claymont Hometown Overlay Zone is designed to provide for high
        density residential development that can provide for a wide range of housing types,
        including mixed residential/commercial uses and other nonresidential uses to create a
        pedestrian-friendly community and an active and energetic main street. The former
        Brookview community and associated commercial businesses along Philadelphia Pike
        once enjoyed those same characteristics. The new plan for Brookview is intended to
        energize and create an improved atmosphere of human activity and business
        reinvestment.
        D. Suitability of the property for the uses for which it has been proposed or
restricted.
        The Brookview site has historically supported medium to high density residential uses
        with commercial uses along Philadelphia Pike. The new plan with ST and CN zoning
        continues with these similar uses and proposes to recreate a neo-traditional character with
        an emphasis towards walkable, on-street activities. The development of the site to this
        degree is well-suited given its close proximity to two interstate highways, a train station
        with direct and convenient rail service to Philadelphia, and DART bus service to
        downtown Wilmington.
            E. Effect on nearby properties.

        The land development plan for Brookview while proposing high density housing
        throughout is providing appropriate height controls, open space, buffers, berms and
        screening to control adverse impacts to adjacent developed properties. In addition, the
        commitment and investment being proposed at this location will create an important
        economic ripple effect across the Claymont community perhaps spurring others to
        undertake major redevelopment projects and to encourage local homeowners to stay the
        course and make improvements to their homes rather than moving to other areas. It is
        likely the local property values will increase and demand for both other residential and
        commercial properties will increase.
        The Department has considered the Standards for Zoning Map Amendment in UDC
        Section 40.31.410, A through E, the proposed plan, and comments received from
        agencies and the public. Based on this analysis the Department is of the opinion that the
        standards have been met and recommends CONDITONAL APPROVAL of Ordinance
        06-013 as introduced provided that the applicant addresses the following issues:
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
________ Department of Land Use and Planning Board Recommendation Report Page 6 Ordinance 06-013, Application 2005-1335-
S/Z, Brookview May 16, 2006
1) The developer completes all revisions necessary to obtain preliminary plan approval.
        Once completed, the approved preliminary plan will be forwarded to Council for
        consideration and action in connection with this rezoning.
2) A note is added to the record plan requiring that prior to the issuance of a building
        permit for any construction within each phase or block; the developer shall meet
        with the Department for review of plans and specifications for compliance with
        the approved design guidelines and adherence to the approved preliminary plan.
3) A note is added to the record plan referencing the recorded deed restrictions
        documenting the developer’s voluntary assurance’s of providing work force
        housing both on- and off-site, increasing the rate of homeownership to more than
        70% on this site, and assisting current tenants with relocation. These conditions
        are documented in the attached draft agreement.
PLANNING BOARD RECOMMENDATION
At its business meeting held on May 16, 2006, the Planning Board considered the
recommendation offered by the Department of Land Use.
The Planning Board concurred with the Department of Land Use analysis and reasoning
and on a motion by Mr. Maloney and seconded by Mr. Weinberg voted to recommend
CONDITONAL APPROVAL of Ordinance 06-013. The motion was adopted by a vote
of 6-0-0-3 (Yes: MacArtor, Maloney, McDowell, Singer, Weinberg, Wilson; No: none;
Abstain: none; Absent: Anderson, McGlinchey, Walker).
In a discussion that preceded the vote, the following comments were offered:
Mr. Maloney made a motion to amend the recommendation report to include a reference
to “appointed officials” as part of the group that included the community and elected
officials who played a role in the design of the Brookview plan to provide for affordable
or “work force” housing. Mr. Wilson seconded the motion and Mr. Baker indicated that
the Department found the change acceptable. The motion was adopted by a vote of 6-0-3
and the change incorporated into the report.
Mrs. MacArtor commented that while the plan for Brookview is moving forward and
should be a major improvement to the Claymont area, she remains concerned about the
long-term success of the project. She noted that Brookview, once a model community,
has been the subject of many years of neglect that has contributed to its decline. She is
hopeful that the residents still calling Brookview home will be treated fairly and that
adequate, affordable housing will be found for them.
Mr. Baker noted that the attached draft agreement between New Castle County and
Brookview Townhomes Redevelopment LLC still required a formal legal review and that
minor modifications would likely be required. He wanted to make sure Board members
understood that both the recommendation report and the agreement would be modified
slightly in their final
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
________ Department of Land Use and Planning Board Recommendation Report Page 7 Ordinance 06-013, Application 2005-1335-
S/Z, Brookview May 16, 2006
form. Board members agreed that minor modifications could be made as long as the
changes do not change the substantive intent of the issues.
Mr. Baker also thought it beneficial to recognize other elected county officials, including
County Executive Coons, Councilman Cartier, New Castle County Redevelopment
Office Director Karl Kalbacher, New Castle County Community Services General
Manager Ann Farley, and the developer for working towards an agreement to provide for
both on- and off-site work force housing and to provide assistance in finding alternative
housing to the families still living in Brookview.
Mr. Weinberg commented that the lack of maintenance and state of disrepair of the
Brookview site has for many years depressed the local area and contributed to its overall
decline. He calls the proposed changes and years of work to reach this point nothing short
of a Herculean effort for all involved. The improvements to the local area and the region
are significant and the conditions negotiated with respect to home ownership and
affordable housing provisions will benefit the local community and the county as a
whole. He is anxious to see the project move forward so that others will see the benefits,
probable leading to further reinvestments in the local area.
Mr. Wilson noted a possible error in the draft agreement where both a buyer and tenant
are expected to utilize a “deed restricted work force housing unit” as an owner occupied
primary residence. Mr. Baker noted this as an example of the clean-up and minor
modifications still to be made to the draft. Mr. Baker also clarified that both a buyer and
the tenant must be income qualified to own and/or rent one of these properties.
Mr. Singer continues to express his concern over the process and ability of the
Department and County to enforce compliance with an approved preliminary plan and
record plan. The flexibility designed into the Hometown Overlay and Manual of Design
Guidelines is unique and will require constant oversight and review and if not done
correctly could result in an important design omission as the project nears complete
build-out. Mr. Baker commented that the approved plan will provide for a range within
which changes can be made. Changes to street layout for instance are not permitted, but
the design guidelines attached to this plan will permit flexibility within each block on the
residential unit types. There will not be wholesale plan changes, but minor adjustments to
unit types and numbers. Mr. Singer then asked about possible changes to the design
guidelines as the plan moves through its constructions phases to complete build-out. Mr.
Baker noted that the plan must comply with both the base zoning and the overlay zoning
and accompanying design guidelines. Mr. Weinberg suggested that one of the conditions
of the Department approval was compliance with the approved design guidelines.
STATUTORY GUIDELINES
In the phraseology of 9 Delaware Code Section 2603 (a), the Department of Land Use
finds that this rezoning would promote the convenience, order, and welfare of the present
and future inhabitants of this state.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
________ Department of Land Use and Planning Board Recommendation Report Page 8 Ordinance 06-013, Application 2005-1335-
S/Z, Brookview May 16, 2006
NOTE: The applicant is advised that pursuant to Section 40.31.113 F of the UDC, the
preliminary plan associated with this rezoning cannot proceed to County Council until it
addresses all the issues identified in the Departments Preliminary Plan Report dated
March 23, 2006. The preliminary plan must be deemed "approvable" by the Department
of Land Use prior to County Council action.
NOTE: It is the applicant’s responsibility to coordinate with the Clerk of County Council
and the sponsor of the ordinance as to the date and time of the County Council hearing on
this application. The next scheduled rezoning hearing date at County Council is June 13,
2006.
[SIGNED 5/18/06] [SIGNED 5/18/06]
_________________________________ ____________________________________
Victor Singer, Chair Charles Baker, General Manager
Planning Board Department of Land Use
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
________ Department of Land Use and Planning Board Recommendation Report Page 9 Ordinance 06-013, Application 2005-1335-
S/Z, Brookview May 16, 2006

				
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