Seaford considering eight properties for annexation


by Annette C. Silva

Following a brief swearing-in ceremony last Tuesday at City Hall during which Mayor Daniel Short, Councilwoman Grace Peterson and Councilman Larry Miller were officially welcomed into their new terms of office, City Manager Dolores Slatcher outlined the city's proposal to annex eight parcels of land, seven of which are located on US 13 north, and one Atlanta Road property, which is owned by the Seaford Volunteer Fire Department.
Slatcher explained that any and all projects for construction on these parcels of land will require the full approval of the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDot), but she said the parcels would be developed if annexed.
On the parcels that don't have existing electrical service, the city will provide such service; on properties that are electrically connected, Seaford will buy the service from Conectiv.
Slatcher said all of the properties existing outside of the city limits do not have water and sewer services at this time but that, if annexed, when city water and sewer services are extended, the property owners will be tied into the new lines.
One of the properties included in the annexation is the Smoot Farm (108 acres), a parcel currently being negotiated between realtor Tommy Cooper and a Maryland developer for plans to build a grocery store, theater complex and other shops.
"The advantage of annexing these parcels is that it will increase our tax base and encourage growth in our area," said Slatcher. The downside, she said, would be the increase in traffic on Route 13. Slatcher said that if the city votes to annex these properties during an April 18 annexation election to be held at City Hall between 2 and 6 p.m., the request will be sent to the Delaware State Planning Office for approval.
Slatcher said they don't anticipate problems with state approvals because the lands are included in DelDot's "B" category investment areas, those considered viable because of location, traffic flow and the existence of side roads.
"DelDot would like to avoid installing new traffic lights if possible," she said.

Riverwalk Phase III will go Forward
The continuation of the Riverwalk project leading along the Nanticoke River from Front Street to the bottom of Cannon Street, including boardwalk, is officially a "go."
Council approved a bid by Hastings Marine Construction Company to shore-up the riverbank and to build the boardwalk.
They also approved a Bartons' Landscaping bid to plant sod, shrubs, trees and to install an irrigation system.

City offers reinvestment incentives for businesses
A Seaford ordinance has been created for property owners who wish to reinvest in the city.
Those who qualify will be granted a sum of money for start up costs associated with a new business.

A qualifying project is one that:
   (1) involves an existing building within the Seaford City limits;
   (2) demonstrates substantial improvements to be made that will increase the appraised value of the property by 50% or more, or, will create substantial employment opportunities for residents of the greater Seaford area;
   (3) has been recommended by the Economic Development group and approved by the Seaford City Council;
   (4) Organizations with non-profit status will not qualify.
For information regarding incentive amounts and requirements, or to request an application, call 302-629-9173 or fax requests for information to 302-629-9307 or e-mail at www.seafordde.com.

Another lot to be sold at Industrial Park
Council approved the sale of a corner lot (Lot #2) at Seaford Industrial Park to John McFarland, owner of Delmarva Builders, Inc. and American Water Wells.
Council addressed their reservations, previously discussed to their satisfaction with Mr. McFarland, regarding the aesthetic drawbacks of possible storage of large pipes and well rigs outside of the building McFarland plans to construct on the property.
McFarland assured council members that, if necessary, he would plant Leyland Cypress trees around the area to serve as a green fence, thus allaying these concerns.
The building that McFarland plans to construct will be earthtone with fieldstone; it will have a paved entrance and appropriate landscaping respecting the convenants of the Industrial Park.

Seaford House gets a new home this spring
With Patrick Ryan and Alvin French of the architectural firm of French and Ryan represented in Council chambers, city building official Charles Anderson elaborated an architectural plan for a new 6,480-foot building for Seaford House, a residential treatment center for troubled adolescents under the age of 18.
Seaford House, currently located on Market Street, has sorely outgrown their residence there, according to Sally Higgins of the Children and Families First Program.
Higgins attended the meeting to represent Seaford House.
The new building, which council approved for construction, will be located on land northwest of the Seaford Police Department with a 50-foot buffer along Market Street Extended.
The one-story facility will include fencing and a line of trees planted along the 50-foot buffer.
The design is for a residential building that will blend with the area's general architecture, said Anderson. Seaford House will accommodate 16 residents, according to Higgins.
The architects said they expect to receive bids in the latter part of March and anticipate that construction will begin in April or May.
They have a six-month target date to complete the new Seaford House.
Higgins thanked council members for their efforts on behalf of the project.