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New Castle County Land Use proposes new plan for comprehensive rezoning

Quinn Kirkpatrick
Delaware Public Media

The New Castle County Department of Land Use presents an alternative proposal to a mass rezoning ordinance pulled from County Council consideration.

At Tuesday’s Land Use Committee meeting, Land Use General Manager Charuni Patibanda revealed a new proposal to rezone the 87 parcels from the original ordinance.

She says the rezonings will now be grouped by council district so the rezonings are more “digestible” for the public and council.

“For example, there are clusters of parcels all next to each other that are all zoned ‘I’ and need to be rezoned to ‘S,’ it does make sense to do them together," Patibanda says. "I would think, as far as tax payer dollars, efficiency of government spending, it would not make sense for the county to take one by one.”

But Dale Swain from public opposition group RADAR says that is exactly what they want.

“Let the council vote on each of them so it is clear what they are voting on," Swain says. "This process with O-83 just really was not the way to do rezoning which is what we’ve said from the beginning.”

Patibanda says the 12 ordinances will be introduced in five batches. They will meet with council members before the introductions to discuss outreach and hold community meetings after the introductions to present details to the public.

Councilman Bill Bell says they need to assess which rezonings will have the most impact.

“If it is something that is minor that has very little impact on anyone or neighboring properties, that might be able to be handled a little bit differently," Bell says. "I think where the public’s concern comes in, and I think even from a council perspective, there are plans where there are applicants or requests to downzone or upzone that should be dealt with more through the process.”

With the original ordinance being pulled from consideration, Bell notes a plan for a Wawa in his district will be held up, angering many residents who spoke during public comment.

But Bell says he plans to introduce an ordinance to rezone that parcel and greenlight that project at the next council meeting.

Rachel Sawicki was born and raised in Camden, Delaware and attended the Caesar Rodney School District. They graduated from the University of Delaware in 2021 with a double degree in Communications and English and as a leader in the Student Television Network, WVUD and The Review.