Community Meeting to Discuss Preliminary Redevelopment Plan for the Former Forwood Schoolhouse on Silverside Road near Marsh Road
Monday, April 18th at 7:00pm
Location: Brandywine High School Auditorium, 1400 Foulk Road, Wilmington, DE 19803
Dear community leaders and friends,
I am pleased to facilitate a community meeting on Monday, April 18, 2016 at 7:00pm in the Brandywine High School Auditorium, 1400 Foulk Road, so that we as a community can learn about the revisions to the redevelopment plans for the former Forwood Schoolhouse. These modifications have been implemented since the time of our last community meeting with the applicant and his representatives on July 8, 2015. The developer has continued to work closely with the New Castle County Department of Land Use regarding community and land use department concerns; and has now submitted an Exploratory Sketch Plan for Land Use Department Review. All documents are posted at http://www3.nccde.org/project/details/default.aspx?ProjectKey=536326 .
With the submission of an exploratory sketch plan by the applicant, this plan will move forward to New Castle County Council for introduction and a subsequent New Castle County Planning Board Public Hearing. The New Castle County Land Use Department will not schedule a Planning Board Public Hearing until after the State PLUS report has been reviewed by the New Castle County Land Use Department. For more details about the State of Delaware “PLUS” Review process, please visit www.stateplanning.delaware.gov/plus .
The introduction of a plan legally requires a member of County Council to sponsor a formal Resolution of Introduction. This is a major land development plan, coupled with a rezoning; which either must be sponsored by the district councilperson or by the County Council President. As district councilperson, I have opted to be the sponsor. Being a sponsor does not mean support; but enables me to control the progress of the plan through the County Council legislative process.
For the past 20 years I have been involved with various iterations of the Forwood parcel development plans. At the time of the initial rezoning over 20 years ago, I represented our community as CCOBH Zoning Vice President. Since that time, as both a neighbor of the parcel and as our district councilperson, I have engaged in numerous collaborative meetings with the former owner and current owner and our community.
At our first community meeting with the applicant on July 8, 2015, the applicant proposed a pedestrian friendly village, centered around an internal pedestrian precinct with integrated pathways. We were generally supportive of this concept; but emphasized that: 1) we deserve a thoughtful land use development plan with architectural excellence, quality construction materials, and first class design elements; 2) we deserve walkability so that we can all enjoy the option to walk to where we live, shop, work and play; 3) we deserve information about traffic impact and expect our new neighbor and our county government to consider our traffic concerns; 4) we deserve respect for the intrinsic history of the original Forwood School and integration of the historic structure into our new community addition.
Like you, I look forward to learning about the developer’s revised proposal. As has been my practice during my 20 years as your County Councilperson, I do not meet alone with developers, applicants or their attorneys. I requested this community meeting so that we will see the revised plan together. The community will continue to play an integral role as we go forward together through the public hearing process.
Here is information about the proposed plan provided by the developer:
“Developer Joe Setting, of Montchanin-based Setting Properties Inc., proposes a new mixed-use project, Branmar Commons, on the land containing the former Forwood Schoolhouse near Silverside and Marsh roads. Plans for the 11.5-acre site call for 38 townhomes as well as 32,000 square feet of commercial retail that includes a restaurant, a bank, a coffee shop, and a pharmacy. The proposal is a pedestrian oriented, walkable village with high architectural design standards and quality construction materials, designed around open and landscaped green areas.
Reclaimed stone from the Forwood Schoolhouse will be repurposed into a replica structure measuring 20’ x 22’. The schoolhouse replica will be placed in a prominent location on the site as an attractive and historically significant focal point for the village.
This proposal will create and foster a vibrant and pedestrian-friendly community in Brandywine Hundred. The design of Branmar Commons, with sidewalks both internal to the site and connecting to the neighboring commercial properties along Silverside Road, encourages residents and visitors to comfortably spend a portion of their day walking throughout the village and enjoying the amenities that will be offered, including attractive landscaping and pedestrian features as well as public gathering spaces.
The existing residential neighborhoods will be substantially buffered from Branmar Commons through a combination of landscaping and natural vegetation. The proposed buffer ranges from 43’ up to 270’, and all buildings will be setback a minimum of 94’ from the existing property line adjacent to the residential neighborhoods. Plans for the proposal, including architectural renderings, will be presented at the scheduled community meeting. The project will require a rezoning.
The community meeting has been scheduled for Monday, April 18th at 7:00pm in the Brandywine High School auditorium.”
The property is zoned NCSD Semi-Detached Residential for residential development. The proposed concept would require a rezoning. The County Land Use Department professional planners will be in attendance at our community meeting and will be carefully considering our thoughtful comments and questions.
We as a community will be engaged in the public hearing process to assure that this site is consistent with community character, respectful of our traffic capacity, is walking and bike friendly, and architecturally enhances our community.
For additional information or questions, please contact my office at 302-395-8362.
Best wishes to all.
Bob Weiner, your County Councilman