A few members of New Castle County Council expressed their concern that the new Claymont Library slated to be built in Darley Green may cause unwanted expenses for the county.

A few members of New Castle County Council expressed their concern that the new Claymont Library slated to be built in Darley Green may cause unwanted expenses for the county.

Councilman William Powers (D-Townsend) pointed out that developments in his district pay to use nearby stormwater management ponds. He wondered if the residents of Darley Green would be subject to the same responsibility or if the county would pick up the tab.

Powers expressed his concerns at the New Castle County Land Use Committee meeting chaired by Councilman Joseph Reda (D-Elsmere) Monday at the City/County Building.

“Who’s going to maintain the open space and stormwater ponds with a county building on it?” Powers asked. “I’ve got a lot of open space that they can put libraries on. I think most of my constituents would love to have the county come in and take care of their ponds and their open space liability.”

“It’s not equal to what everyone else in the county has if it does go that way,” he said

Department of Land Use staffer Mary Grace Novak, the liaison to the Claymont Design Review Advisory Committee, said that issue came up recently at a DRAC meeting.

“My understanding at that time was there was still discussion between the county and the developer of Darley Green,” Novak said.

County Department of Community Services General Manager Marcus Henry said that is part of the ongoing negotiations with Commonwealth, the developer of Darley Green.

“We’re still finalizing that language with Commonwealth in terms of that land, and that will deal with those issues,” he said.

The Wilmington-based developer is donating 7.5 acres of land for the facility just off Darley Road, across from Woodshaven Kruse Park.

Councilman George Smiley (D-New Castle) said his understanding of donated land is that if the county took possession of the land, it would take on the responsibility of maintenance and upkeep of the library as well as the stormwater pond. Meanwhile, the residents moving in would not see their maintenance fees go toward maintaining the property.

“Somewhere in this, the benefactors of having that stormwater management need to be contributing toward the upkeep and maintenance of it,” he said.

Councilman David Tackett (D-Christiana), similar to Powers, also has several
maintenance corporations in his district.

“Something this large and this big is going to be a huge amount of financial responsibility with upkeep and maintenance,” he said. “The code was changed years ago to allow parcels to share stormwater [basins] and if other parcels drain into that pond, you have the right to mandate that they contribute to the stormwater upkeep of that pond. Something like that has to absolutely be devolved here as you go into your negotiations.”

Councilman John Cartier (D-Brandywine Hundred East), whose district includes Darley Green, said council members raised very good concerns.

“This development will have a maintenance corporation associated with it,” he said. “That’s already in the deeds of the project. So, there should be some revenue stream available to help the county maintain that. The devil’s in the details on that.”

Concerns notwithstanding, Councilman Robert Weiner (R-Brandywine Hundred West) reiterated his enthusiasm for the project, which is the crown jewel of the Claymont Renaissance. Weiner was involved with the renaissance until most of Claymont was given to Cartier when County Council was doubled a decade ago.

“It’s really the height of new urbanism and smart growth,” he said. “I hope it’ll serve as a model for other projects in New Castle County to recognize that density can be our friend as long as its coupled with excellence in architectural detail, quality construction materials and the layout.”