NEW CASTLE — New Castle County Council approved a major land-development plan for 237 single-family, detached units in Middletown on Tuesday.
Significant opposition for St. Georges Hundred — on the east side of U.S. 301, 4,600 feet south of Boyds Corner Road — was observed in February during a Planning Board public hearing.
At that meeting, three residents who live in neighboring Cedar Lane Estates expressed concerns about traffic, given that a road is proposed that would connect the new development to Cedar Lane Road. That new thoroughfare would go through Cedar Lane Estates.
Residents said the safety of their children would be at risk, with traffic from an additional 237 homes flowing through their neighborhood.
Shawn Tucker, an attorney for the developer, Lovett Real Estate, said in February that interconnectivity is required between subdivisions to help disperse vehicles to multiple access points and bigger roads like Cedar Lane Road. However, he said the developer is willing to add additional buffering than what is required by code to mitigate any issues with lots that may be directly affected by the proposed plan.
The final plan shows the same two routes out of the new neighborhood as the preliminary plans: a road connected to Rosenberger Drive through the existing development and a new road called Nighthawk Drive to be constructed going around the neighborhood.
There were also environmental concerns addressed, such as the effect on surrounding open space. A forest stand delineation report was conducted in May 2020 to determine the limits of the mature forests, young forests, specimen trees and non-forest areas for planning purposes. After review, it was determined there would be limited environmental impact, as the majority of the site is in agricultural use and classified as a non-forest area.
A lot will also be created for the existing farmhouse on the property, as recommended by the Land Use Department in March.
This ensures that New Castle County’s valuable historic resources are preserved, since the Mrs. Templeman Farm Complex has been determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. Additionally, an ordinance — introduced in January and adopted by the Planning Board in March — proposed to rezone 5.81 acres of the area from Suburban to Suburban and Historic.
The farm complex was constructed in the third quarter of the 19th century and is a “significant, surviving example of early nineteenth century development of St. Georges Hundred, a period that saw a dramatic shift to improved building methods due to prosperity following a period of agricultural reform. The granary structure also retains a high level of integrity to its period of construction and is therefore also considered significant,” according to a March Department of Land Use and Planning Board recommendation report.
There was no public comment during Tuesday’s council meeting, and the plan was passed 12-0, with one council member absent.