Reader Response: Land Use approval process falls way short
I am writing in response to your article about the development of the Cavaliers Country Club.
I attended numerous public meetings and met personally with staff from the Gordon administration, County Executive Matt Meyer, Sen. Jack Walsh and Councilman Ken Woods expressing opposition to this development. I was not alone as others advocated in similar ways and through a petition that was supported by hundreds.
To read this article now leaves me wondering again about the entire process for approving development through the New Castle County Land Use process.
You state rightfully so that “after many residents turned out to oppose its county rezoning application in 2018” the County Council still “allowed the move from suburban (S) to suburban transition (ST) zoning” which permitted the addition of “hundreds of additional homes”.
Any New Castle County resident should question how this initial decision was made because it allowed this developer to begin a project that will significantly and negatively impact anyone who lives or travels in this area.
Your article is highly important because New Castle County just launched its two-year process of developing a new countywide comprehensive plan to guide growth and development for generations to come. They are asking for input. Residents of New Castle County need to know that the Carlino project was not only approved to double what the land was zoned for, but that ground has broken before a final approval. This was all done under a current comprehensive plan that ensures protection of open space to enhance the quality of life for its residents, and with educated and informed community members respectfully presenting valid and documented opposition to the project.
Does everyone realize that the now approved 700+ homes will generate over 1,400 new vehicles exiting onto Churchman’s Road which is a two-lane road in both directions? It is also one of the most used roads for emergency vehicles traveling to the Christiana Hospital. You don’t need a traffic study to know that an already over-used and inefficient roadway will be overly burdened by an addition of vehicles.
Allowing this to even begin without resolving the “connector road” is placing a death wish on anyone who needs to access emergency services at Christiana Hospital.
According to the Comprehensive Development Plan, the County is supposed to protect natural resources (not just the minimal required in a development), ensure high quality of life and protect and enhance the environment for its residents, not cater to out-of-state developers.
The fact that “it is anticipated that Carlino will receive final approval on the project on July 28” because there was no opposition at a recent meeting shows that the community was misled. Carlino has not “worked hard to gain acceptance for the project.” His lawyer repeatedly told people it’s a “done deal” and the best way to gain from this developer was to join their “working group”. I did not buy that line and continued to advocate to preserve the open space, only to be met with attempts to intimidate me.
Again, I am astounded to read that it is anticipated that final approval will occur next week. Then why were trees destroyed in April? Why do I see and hear construction vehicles on the property outside my home daily?
Isn’t this backwards? Shouldn’t final approval occur before breaking ground? I would surmise that this is the reason there was no opposition at a recent meeting.
I’ve been told that the Land Use process has improved. However, the process is not worth the paper it is written on when developers profit at the expense of the tax-paying residents of this county.