Kent County Levy Court imposes restrictions on the Field of Dreams

By Benjamin Rothstein
Posted 4/1/24

DOVER – An ordinance that was simply meant to correct a Levy Court oversight blossomed into a feud between the Field of Dreams and its neighboring 55+ development, Verona Woods.  

The …

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Kent County Levy Court imposes restrictions on the Field of Dreams


DOVER – An ordinance that was simply meant to correct a Levy Court oversight blossomed into a feud between the Field of Dreams and its neighboring 55-and-over development, Verona Woods.

The field operates on a plot of land off Lewis Road in Dover owned by Kent County Levy Court, which had failed to grant themselves a conditional-use permit to use the land for sports. The ordinance, originally discussed at a meeting in January, would have corrected that mistake. But to Levy Court’s surprise, droves of residents from Verona Woods appeared to air out complaints regarding the field.

Residents cited loud music, trash, parking issues and more when calling for restrictions from Levy Court, who put together and workshop a list of those potential restrictions, which was discussed in February and finally put to a vote Tuesday.

The field was in operation for around two decades before the construction of Verona Woods, meaning the circumstances for the lease have changed.

“The difference is there were not houses there before this contract. So there’s nothing to follow as far as what was going on,” said Commissioner Allan Angel. “Now the issue is coming for us. We have to deal with it.”

Discussions included a public hearing period, with further comments from Verona Woods residents and DREAM Association founder La Mar Gunn. The installation of a rules sign was amended due to one of these public comments.

The first of the new restrictions forces a set of operation hours to 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

Other restrictions and changes imposed on the field include but are not limited to light not being allowed to shine on adjacent properties, the installation of trash receptacles and their collection, the installation of a sign stating the rules, and the prohibition of any event besides sports-related gatherings.

The final one caused tension among commissioners.

“I believe Mr. Gunn has, once a year, he goes with the kids out there for a Father’s Day event,” said Commissioner Robert Scott, referring to a DREAM Association gathering where kids without fathers get the opportunity camp out with mentors on Father’s Day. “Since we took (nonsporting events) out.”

The discussion caused chatter among the Verona Woods residents in the audience, causing Levy Court President Terry Pepper to call the court to order. But some of the residents were less than cooperative.

“You folks are being very disrespectful,” Commissioner Pepper said.

“So are you,” shouted a resident.

“That’s extremely disrespectful. You know, in most cases a situation like this, when disrespect continues, we clear the courtroom here,” rebutted Mr. Pepper.

Commissioner Scott attempted to amend the ordinance to allow for the event, but it was voted down. The only commissioners who voted for it were Mr. Scott and Commissioner Paul Hertz.

The final vote then passed unanimously.

“I’ve had two meetings scheduled with the residents of the Verona Woods, where both of them were canceled at the last minute,” Mr. Gunn said

According to residents, the cancellation was because they wanted Levy Court to hear the complaints.

“As a government or as a government agency, of course you can’t act arbitrarily or capriciously. We have to do what’s right. It’s always a good time to do what’s right,” Mr. Gunn said.

“And in this case, we’re helping thousands of kids in Kent County recreate and play on the field safely. We had the property lease for 806 days. Now we want to change the use.? We had no complaints up until a sign was placed out in front of the field granting public notice.”

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