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Newark City Council approves student housing development over objections

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A design of the project to replace the Dickinson dorms.

Newark City Council has approved a controversial project that will bring new student housing to the area.

A Pennsylvania developer, College Town Communities, will build 45 apartments and 46 townhomes on the University of Delaware’s former West campus.

The rental units will replace dorms UD closed in 2015 when it eliminated that area of its campus. The city of Newark plans to build a stormwater facility in place of the Rodney dorm complex also in that area.

Some residents objected to the development because of its close proximity to the the Oaklands neighborhood. They say it will bring more traffic, college parties and noise. The city planning commission has previously opposed the project. 

City Councilman James Horning represents affected constituents. He said he looked for a reason to vote against the project, but he couldn’t find one because it complied with the city’s code.

“What was difficult about it was I knew some of the residents just simply didn’t want it or if they wanted it, they wanted changes that were not required under the code,” he said.

Newark Mayor Jerry Clifton said the project meets Newark’s code requirements, but the council added multiple conditions.

“I think it was seven amendments put on that in one way or another to get a better product, to address the needs of the community and protect the community to the extent that we can,” he said.

Those amendments include a security camera monitored by the Newark police and not renting parking spaces to non-tenants.

Clifton said the amount of student housing in this project will not replace the amount of student housing the Dickinson dorms provided.

A UD spokeswoman said current student housing is near capacity close to campus, but there are vacancies and the university working with the city to assess needs.

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