Two workforce housing meetings occurred this week. The first on Tuesday was at the Cornerstone Church off 896, and the second one took place with the New County Council in the Gillian building just off New Castle Commons…

The first meeting was put on by the new found work-group..Stay Out Of My Pocket. This group coalesced out of the early September meeting off Vance Neck Road…. Apparently citizens did not like what the County told them there…. (You can refresh your memory here to find out why…) Since that time research was done and an action and plan of attack has been determined…

The tone between this meeting and the last, was different as East Delaware is from West Delaware…(lol) Whereas the star of the last meeting was a map, this meeting was owned by a power point. In fact walking in ones’ first impression was “wow… this is a nice church..” complete with cafeteria, hotel informational desk, and gift shop. The inner sanctum gave new meaning to echo chamber, since only those who used a mike, could be understood, unless one was quite near the speaker…

But with little contention worth mentioning, here is the scoop from the meeting… Work force housing is a done deal. Stays can be executed but we can never go back and undo the bids that were placed before and between the first and last meeting… However, legislation can be passed in the General Assembly and signed by Jack Markell which can be retroactive before the bids were placed, and that can undo the damage… An arduous process to be sure. But a lawsuit in Chancery Court can stop it cold…

There are several reasons for following through with Chancery Court… First, the Chancery Court revolves around “equity”. And the current workforce housings provisions provide developers, as well as county government, some prime plums to be picked… But.. it penalizes every other citizen and homeowner in the county by doing so… It is not equal and therefore the Chancery Court is where it needs to be heard…

Furthermore, William Chandler III stated that our current rate of development will DESTROY DELAWARE FOR GENERATIONS TO COME…

The unions sent some representatives, not wanting to be blindsided as the were by the Vance Neck meeting, where in September they figured that workforce housing was a done deal, so why bother… They did get anxious and their blood pressure soared during the part where “slowing down the process” was discussed, either by filing historical claims, environmental claims, or more or less using every law on the books, to slow down the development until the court case could be heard… was mentioned…

That then is the way to start…

Most importantly was the implicit implication to Sussex and Kent Counties… Mark Baker, who is running for Sussex County District 3, himself on Maria Evan’s show stated that workforce housing, if he was elected, was to be Sussex Counties next big priority…..

Equally chilling was a video, made by developers in America’s most royalist state, Virginia, which told other developers how to game the local system in order to put up workforce housing.. To paraphrase…”having trouble with getting a project passed through County Council?…Just mention workforce housing (formerly known as low income housing) and poof, it gets passed”…  Equally telling was that Hawaii had shut down workforce housing in that state… because the outcome was so horribly different from what they had been promised…So it is possible.  Success can be accomplished…

As an aside, Cathcart and Lofink both stated emphatically that they were against the work force ordinance changing forever the quality of New Castle County.  Steve Amick (retired) also was against the plan.. Bethany Hall-Long, no doubt due to an acknowledgment towards the union,  hemmed and hawed until rousing discontent from the audience made her too see the light… (If she was ever to be elected…..) she too came out against the ordinance..  Earl Jacques stood up in back and said he too was against the ordinance… Four for four against was the call made by the moderator…

Again more can be found on their site:  Stay out of my pocket.

The following day County Council met to hear the public’s view.. In fairness to all, it should be disclosed that your humble reporter chose to spend the evening behind third base at a certain athletic event that took place that evening… So I apologize for any inconsistencies and if notified, will correct them… (Fifteen years… man…) But from what I heard, the following is what took place…

To begin we had a presentation describing work force housing….. put on by the county.. You can see that display here….

Then came the citizenry up to the open mike…

Bill Williams blamed Democrats and organized labor that goes “whoop, whoop” at county meetings.
Next Mark from Caravel Farms had questions to be answered later..
Then a fisherman’s daughter from Seattle stepped up in support of Work Force Housing…
Appoquinimink School Board President said at $30 million per school, and 1000 new kids being the thresh-hold for a new school, and a net gain of 500 students over this past summer, schools could not be built fast enough if work force housing goes into effect… He stressed he was unaware that plans had been changed regarding density levels. Next a resident complained of traffic on his road, and wondered if Deldot could ever be counted upon to fix it.. Then a rep from Stay Out Of My Pocket asked three questions to be answered in full, later… We did find out that $4200 is assessed per household for educational needs, but costs could be much higher, with the difference impinging upon taxpayers.. A visitor from the State Education stood up an said he had pertinent information, if he could speak… He jumped the line and spoke.. He was in charge of determining the assessment fees for developments across the state… His formula was simple.. take the cost of building a school..divide it by the number of houses…. for Appoquinimink…around $4200 per unit.. (someone verify that formula?)  The formula is determined by state law…that finger point was repeated a lot… so today,even as commodities rise, the cost is mandated at that low level meaning that is all the developers pay… the rest is paid by your taxes…

Then Chuck Mulholland, head of Southern New Castle County Alliance, gave his opinion that work force housing was a costly endeavor… for nothing.. There are 300 properties in Claymont sitting empty… put the workforce into those houses, before moving them down to Boyd’s Corner… an idea that makes sense…  Brandywine school district is cutting back due to lack of students, and Appoquinimink can’t build schools fast enough…

Several other speakers spoke as well.

On resident of Denny Road decried the condition of his highway in front of his house, and that with several new developments, no work was anticipated to widen the road… “The shoulder is crumbling away”, said this resident. “Deldot’s answer was to zig-zag the white line edging the holes already formed on the highway’s edge… Boggles the mind… and density rates were doubled?

Jim Spencer, running against Earl Jacques in the twenty seventh,  who is well acquainted with Deldot… said he lives on Porter Road… It takes ten minutes for him to leave his driveway because of all the traffic… Deldot is broke… they just paid 20 million for a pile of sand at Indian River… Don’t count on Deldot to do anything to alleviate your congestion, he said.. they can’t… and density rates were doubled?

One resident of Rose Hill, (always reminds me of that scene in the Wizard of Oz… oh,.. that was poppies.) had some good questions.. Forgetting what they were, perhaps they will show up later…

Several citizens said they were raised in the city, and left on their own…  They agreed with the principal of work force housing, but not with the method which it was sprung upon them in their new developments…

Several plants were called in support of the principal of work force housing, creating a controversy over whether workforce housing was for fireman and policeman, or was for slum lords and riff raff..  One wife of a policeman contested workforce housing was necessary for them by stating “the families of policemen, don’t need workforce housing… we can find housing on our own”.  One lawyer from New Jersey spoke until the audience began challenging her, then walked off…. but not before giving Penrose Hollins a hug….XOXOXO

A couple of liberal types spoke on the “egalitarian principles” of why we need work force housing, thereby giving liberalism a bad name…

Andy Taylor, a lawyer for the County, who occasionally shows up in the comment sections of these blogs, said he lives in Claymont, where the density level is higher than what is being proposed in and around MOT. And he is a happy person. Great.

Joann Christian, Asst. Appoquinimink Superintendent, spoke a little about how the plan had blindside them within the school district… One of the criteria for work force housing was that it be pre-approved by the school board.. Not quite… A call comes to the school board… Can you accept “X” number of new students?”  “uh… no.”  “Ok, we’ll assess the fee then…”  and the houses are built anyway, with part of the fee assessed upon the developers, and the children get dumped on overcrowded schools…

After seeing his former opponent speak, State Senator Bruce Ennis signed in and stepped up to the mike… Upon opening his folder, he knocked the red, yellow, and green time clock on the floor, prompting county officials to holla’  “send him the bill.”….  Bruce discussed how he was unaware that the laws for development had been changed.  He cited statistics showing that of all the new plans brought before the state… those in New Castle County were in single digits… That was because a circular had been circulated saying that the county ordinance overrode the state law, which had been changed to be subordinate to county law, by the same group of Democratic Senators who backed Minner’s veto on eminent domain… led, of course, by Tony DeLuca… (no wonder he is against open government).

Laura Brown, who is running against Bill Bell, the council person responsible for putting lower New Castle County in this predicament, spoke out that she was against work force housing moving into that region, and would fight to limit its extent…  Bill Bell WILL have developers and union support.. It will take everyone in District 12 who is not union or a developer, to vote for Laura Brown if Bell is to be unseated… Remember, it was Bell who sat quietly in Hooters, sipping beers while looking out the window at the scenery (yeah right), while this controversy was brewing… He talked to no one about it before it blew up… It was his seat which was hottest during the August meeting… “psssss”.

Bill Dunn, hero extraordinaire, had a couple of questions…. Almost more important than what he said, was the reaction of one Paul Clark, who leaned against the wall… As Bill spoke, Paul Clark snickered, hardly unable to contain his glee… If he is ever put in jail, he not only would be a Clark bar, but a Snicker’s bar as well.  As Paul turned his head, one could see where Pam had pulled a hair for each time he had failed to do what she wanted….

Attending but not speaking, were candidates Rebecca Walker, and Bethany Hall-Long who could be overheard at the end, “where can I get a program”….

This is probably Delaware’s next big battle: citizens against the developers.. affecting Sussex and Kent Counties, as well as New Castle County…  It is time everyone begin to acquaint themselves with just how bad work force housing will affect them personally, and then “get themselves a program…”

Again the best start would be with Stay Out Of My Pocket.

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