Court has up to 90 days to deliver an opinion on VC Sam Glasscock's overturning of a 2011 rezoning
The arguments are in, but the decision could be weeks or months away in the ongoing saga of Barley Mill Plaza.
On March 5, counsel on both sides of the issue pled their case before the Delaware Supreme Court over an April 2013 Chancery Court decision overturning the county’s 2011 rezoning of roughly 37 acres of the 90-acre lot from Office Regional to Commercial Regional.
Delivered by Vice Chancellor Sam Glasscock, that decision rendered a vote by New Castle County Councilman Bob Weiner “arbitrary and capricious” because Weiner was denied access to a traffic study before the vote.
According to court briefs, lawyers for community activist organization Save Our County argued that Glasscock was right to overturn council’s vote, while counsel for Barley Mill owner Stoltz Real Estate Partners say Glasscock dug too deep in searching for other “reasons” for Weiner’s vote.
Save Our County is the entity that sued Stoltz and the county following the rezoning in 2011.
Save Our County representative Joe Kelly said that Stoltz’s lawyers argued that Weiner was basing his decision on a land use report and that other reasons were invalid.
“That land use report was fatally flawed; it had no analysis whatsoever of traffic, even though it was supposed to evaluate the effect of this development upon the surrounding properties,” Kelly said.
Because it was so flawed, Kelly said, their counsel Jeff Goddess argued that it would have rendered any decisions made based on its recommendations invalid.
“We’re cautiously optimistic that we’ll win this thing,” he said, adding that newly appointed Chief Justice Leo Strine upheld his reputation as “brilliant” and dove immediately into several key points in Stoltz’s counsel Christian Wright’s arguments.
Those points include whether or not it’s valid to go back and seek other reasons for why Weiner rendered his decision, and whether Weiner should act as his own advisor simply because Weiner is an attorney himself.
Kelly, a retired attorney, said that the court had up to 90 days to render a decision in the appeal, meaning it could be June before they hear any news.