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New Castle County Council rescinds resolution adding "cottage development" option in Centreville

New Castle County Council reverses course on a resolution for a plan that would allow cottage homes on small plots of land in Centreville.

The resolution - passed by Council in February - amended the Centreville Community Development Plan, creating a cottage community development option.

That sparked controversy amongst Centreville residents who strongly opposed it as Council considered rescinding the resolution at a Land Use Committee meeting last week and again at council’s Tuesday night meeting.

The final vote to rescind was seven for and five against with Councilman George Smiley not voting.

Councilmembers Dave Carter, John Cartier, Dee Durham, Valerie George, Karen Hartley-Nagle, Dave Tackett, and Brandon Toole voted for the removal.

Councilmembers Bill Bell, Penrose Hollins, Janet Kilpatrick, Tim Sheldon, and Jea Street voted against rescinding the plan.

Several council members changed their minds about supporting the effort to repeal the plan in part due to the severity of personal attacks they have endured, including Kilpatrick and Hollins.

“I have apologized to Councilwoman Durham this morning because in the beginning I told her that I was going to support her, and I believe that I supported her all the way through until it got so bad that I just can’t say that I am going to give in to bullies," she says.

“Quite frankly, I find this notice to be personally disturbing, and damn near racist," Hollins says. "I will not be supporting the repeal at all.”

Residents cited a lack of community engagement in the plan, and noted Centreville is an historic village that they do not wish to see turned into high density, cluster housing, which bears sewer and water infrastructure concerns.

While giving public comment, land-use attorney Larry Tarabicos was heckled by the crowd of Centreville residents at last week’s Land Use Committee meeting for supporting the cottage idea, and spoke in support again on Tuesday.

“There are at least 50 lots on the north side of Route 52 that are a third of an acre or less," he says. "Some of them are .12 acres, .17 acres, ,18 acres, small lots on septic already exist in Centreville.”

Resolution sponsor Dee Durham hopes that by rescinding the cottage development option, they can return to a civil process of drafting Centreville’s community development plan.

“Where all voices can be heard, and the future of Centreville can be guided under updated draft guidelines, protecting its historic character, while putting parameters in place for any future changes," Durham says. "Because there will be changes that come to the village, and I hope that we can have a civil discourse on perhaps limiting what those changes are.”

Initial support for the cottage communities, which would allow up to 10 houses per acre, noted they would help make Centreville a “liveable, walkable community."

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.