Fair­field res­i­dents crit­i­cize pro­posal

Cou­ple ask­ing city to an­nex wooded lot

Newark Post - - Front Page - By JOSH SHAN­NON jshan­non@ches­pub.com

A wooded lot ad­ja­cent to Fair­field may soon be an­nexed into the city of Ne­wark and sub­di­vided, as a Wilm­ing­ton cou­ple plans to pur­chase the land and build a home there.

The plan­ning com­mis­sion unan­i­mously rec­om­mended coun­cil ap­prove the an­nex­a­tion dur­ing an emo­tional hear­ing in which neigh­bors ex­pressed con­cern about the im­pact on their prop­er­ties and the an­i­mals that call the woods home.

The is­sue re­volves around a 5.5-acre prop­erty at 0 Darien

Road. Cur­rently part of Cov­ered Bridge Farms in New Cas­tle County, the land is one of three ad­join­ing parcels that are owned by the es­tate of Howard Arnold. Arnold and his wife, Anna, had a house on one par­cel and left the rest of the land, in­clud­ing the 5.5 acres in ques­tion, as woods.

David and Eileen Hall are seek­ing to buy the land and build their home on 4.25 acres. They would also leave 1.25 acres for the fu­ture con­struc­tion of a sec­ond sin­gle­fam­ily home.

“It’s a beau­ti­ful site,” David Hall said. “It met our needs in so many dif­fer­ent ways.”

Plan­ning Di­rec­tor Mau­reen Feeney Roser said the Halls asked the city to an­nex the prop­erty so they would have ac­cess to the city’s sewer sys­tem.

Hall said build­ing his house and a drive­way run­ning from Darien Road in Fair­field would re­quire crews to cut down ap­prox­i­mately 65 of the nearly 400 trees on the site. How­ever, he noted that he con­sulted with ar­borists to de­sign his plans to af­fect as few trees as pos­si­ble.

“What was re­ally im­por­tant to us was how this site could be pre­served as much as pos­si­ble,” Hall said, adding, “We’re try­ing to pre­serve the beauty of the land.”

How­ever, some of the neigh­bors ar­gued that the best way to pre- serve the beauty of the land is to not de­velop it.

“Peo­ple who live in Fair­field feel that devel­op­ment of this prop­erty would se­verely im­pact our qual­ity of life, not to men­tion the value of our prop­er­ties,” Don­ald Fogg, whose Stam­ford Drive home backs up to the prop­erty, told the plan­ning com­mis­sion.

Fogg noted that when he looks out his win­dows, he can see trees and flow­ers on the prop­erty.

“I cringe to think my view of the fu­ture is the re­mem­brance of trees that are now gone and an as­phalt drive­way,” he said.

Pa­tri­cia Gor­don, who also lives on Stam­ford Drive ad­ja­cent to the prop­erty, added that she’s seen foxes, red-tailed hawks, owls and other an­i­mals in those woods.

“To dis­turb this piece of land for the sake of one or two homes… seems like a tremen­dous cost to the peo­ple who live on Stam­ford Drive and to the an­i­mals that use that area,” Gor­don said, adding that many res­i­dents take walks on the prop­erty.

Her hus­band, Dou­glas, echoed her sen­ti­ments.

“We’re not try­ing to be NIMBYs, but this is a very spe­cial piece of prop­erty,” he said.

John Arnold, Harold Arnold’s grand­son and the ex­ecu­tor of his es­tate, got choked up as he told the plan­ning com­mis­sion of his grand­par­ents’ love for the prop­erty. He noted that he turned down an ear­lier of­fer from a de­vel­oper who wanted to build more houses on the land.

“Yeah, we could maybe try to milk it out of the es­tate a lit­tle bit more … but that’s not the way my grand­par­ents would work,” he said. “We tried to keep it pure to them but be fair to their es­tate. The Halls gave us that op­por­tu­nity.”

Board Chair­man Alan Sil­ver­man noted that un­der the county’s zon­ing, six homes could be built on the land, com­pared to the two be­ing pro­posed with the an­nex­a­tion. He re­minded the neigh­bors that though they en­joy the prop­erty, they have in essence been “bor­row­ing” it from its own­ers.

Com­mis­sioner Frank McIn­tosh said that deny­ing this plan could lead to a less de­sir­able pro­posal in the fu­ture.

“The next per­son might not be so car­ing about trees or streams,” he said. “What you might get then might be far worse.”

Com­mis­sioner Jeremy Fire­stone pro­posed rec­om­mend­ing to coun­cil that the prop­erty be deed-re­stricted to limit devel­op­ment to the two homes the Halls have planned. His pro­posal was ap­proved 3-2.

The plan is ex­pected to be con­sid­ered by coun­cil in June.


The city is con­sid­er­ing an­nex­ing this 5.5-acre wooded lot ad­ja­cent to Fair­field. A Wilm­ing­ton cou­ple is pur­chas­ing the land and plans to di­vide it into two lots for sin­gle-fam­ily homes.

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