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Newark-based grassroots group celebrates zoning decision

Activists who fought a planned data center and power plant on the University of Delaware’s STAR Campus are celebrating what they see as a final court victory in that battle.

Newark Residents Against Power Plant’s appeal of a Newark Board of Adjustment zoning verification in Delaware’s Superior Court was recently dismissed as “moot” since the law was changed to make the verification irrelevant.

And that’s exactly why the City of Newark filed a motion for the appeal to be dismissed, citing these changes in law that make the prior zoning verification a moot point.

Amy Roe, a member of the Newark Residents against Power Plants steering committee, says the case helped push the City of Newark to make two zoning code changes.

One pertains to zoning approval. Previously, the director of planning and development department could provide a zoning assurance to a developer directly, even if a project might have off-site impact.


"Much of the process of the city working with this project has been behind closed doors and without the knowledge of the residents and without the knowledge of the council. By making the zoning change, that issue has been fixed going forward," Roe said.


Roe says now when off-site impacts are involved, a vote from Newark’s City Council is required.


“So now if the data centers wanted to come back and apply for some sort of zoning verification, they would have to come before city council and present their project. So transparency and daylight is now shed upon this entire process which was missing previously," Roe said.


The second change involves modification of the city’s noise ordinance, imposing stricter standards for nighttime noises. The city also adopted the professional standards for sound measurement of the Acoustical Society of America.



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