This property lies in an area that state planning guidelines designate for the highest - Level 1 - density development. See https://stateplanning.delaware.gov/strategies/documents/ncc-map.pdf. No attempt was made by state officials to change the designation.
The first exploratory record plan for this property was submitted by the developer in December, 2015. This initiated a process of development review that occurred throughout 2016 and into 2017, including level of service/traffic impact approval by both DelDOT and the County.
After the 2016 Election, the Meyer Transition Committee on Parks identified Ogletown as an area to prioritize additional parkland. In January, 2017, County Executive Meyer took office with a pledge to work with residents, County Councilwoman Diller, and other stakeholders to preserve the site for parkland. His team began engagements with the owners to explore options. In light of the County government’s growing structural budget deficit, the County Executive made clear that the county could not pay more than the appraised value of the land, would be willing to match funding commitment from the state, and anticipated that additional funding from outside sources may be needed. To that end, the County received verbal pledges of support toward the potential purchase of the property from private, not-for-profit funding sources.
In February, 2017, the county’s efforts were encouraged when the owner expressed an open-ness to preserving the land, minus eight acres it would retain on which to build 60 apartment units of affordable housing.
During negotiations, the property owner pledged to sell the land to the county for “considerably less” than they would require from a private housing developer in the interest of the public good.
Over seven months last year senior members of the Meyer Administration, County Council, along with staff from the county’s Departments of Law, Land Use, Finance, Special Services, and Community Services, invested hundreds of hours working on this deal and negotiating with the property owners on a fair deal for county residents.
Over the course of negotiations New Castle County made the property owners four written offers to acquire the land. Each offer expressed the County’s support for the owner’s desire to retain a portion of the parcel and develop 60 affordable rental apartments.
Read the offer letters linked below.
Despite their rhetoric, the property owners never proposed an offer for sale they would accept. The owners never responded to any of the offer letters with a specific counter-offer, sale conditions or a sale price they would accept to complete the sale.
Funding commitments for purchase:
Meanwhile, the owners continued to advance the pending development plan through the land use process. In July, 2017, the owner and developer sought and received final development plan approval.