The proposal for a deed restriction amendment on the Rockwood Apartments off Del. Route 40 to allow for aesthetically pleasing peaked roof structures and the rezoning of the Walker Farm in Hockessin to allow for development both sailed through the New Castle County Land Use Committee Tuesday afternoon with little debate.
New Castle County Councilman Bill Bell (D-Middletown) sponsored the ordinance for Rockwood Apartments while Councilwoman Janet Kilpatrick (R-Hockessin) sponsored the ordinance for Walker Farm.
Bell said he and the applicant, Queensbury Village Inc./Pettinaro Construction, made a presentation to the 7 & 40 Alliance, the umbrella civic group based in Bear, and there was no opposition to the lifting of the deed restriction for Rockwood Apartments. In addition, the revised deed restriction would actually bring the property up to current code and bring it more in character with the area, Bell said.
As for the Walker Farm, the Greater Hockessin Area Development Association did not oppose the rezoning of the farm at this point given the extensive scrutiny of the project, Kilpatrick said.
Land use attorney Shawn Tucker, of the Drinker Biddle & Reath law firm, represented both development projects before the Land Use Committee on Tuesday.
The lifting of the deed restrictions at Rockwood Apartments would not just allow for A-line roof tops but also allow for more desirable, higher ceiling heights, Tucker said The deed restrictions on height had been included for this apartment complex because a concern early in the planning stages of this high density development that building heights would reach 80 feet.
Councilman William Powers (D-Townshend) said the property would not only look better, but maintenance for the rooftops would be much easier than a flat top.
Councilman David Tackett (D-Christiana) said this was emblematic of why he did not like deed restrictions, however well-meaning they were intended to be.
"I remember years and years ago when I was on the 7&40 Alliance and I remember sitting down with the officers of 7&40 and Gregory Pettinaro and we talked about this site before it was ever built," Tackett said. "It's a great looking site. The Pettinaros have done a [fantastic] job with the upkeep, maintenance and aesthetics."
As for the Walker Farm, Kilpatrick said R.J. De Felice of Charter Oaks and GHADA Vice President/Land Use Chairman Mark Blake both emailed her to state that their civic associations supported the rezoning at this point given the negotiations and concessions made with regard to development of the Walker Farm. In addition, a Delaware Preliminary Land Use Review determined this land was in area where county and state officials anticipated growth.
The rezoning of Walker Farm would allow for a subdivision of 46 lots composed of seven single family, detached lots and 39 single family, attached lots, with a proposed cul-de-sac giving the development access to Old Lancaster Pike, according to NCCo Department of Land Use documentation.
Page 2 of 2 - The Department of Land Use recommended approval of the Walker Farm ordinance, as did the NCCo Planning Board, which initially voted against approval on Dec. 18, 2012. The board's decision was appealed and overturned at the Land Use Committee meeting held Feb. 5. The Planning Board subsequently voted to approve the plan based on concessions made by the developer based on community concerns.
Both ordinances are scheduled to be brought before New Castle County Council at its next meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday in the City/County Building.