Bridgeville votes in favor of annexation
By Mike McClure
Bridgeville held its annexation vote last Saturday and the town’s residents have spoken. The annexation of around 900 acres of land was approved by a vote of 112 to 16, meaning that the size of the town has nearly tripled from its previous size of 510 acres.
On Saturday, Oct. 19, the annexation passed by a vote of 94-14 at the polls and 18-2 by absentee ballot. On Monday (Oct. 21) the town commission adopted a resolution to accept the annexation.
Included in the annexed land, located south of town near US 13, is around 761 acres of land that will be developed into a golf course and housing development (tentatively named Bridgeville South) by Allen and Rocks, Inc. The vote and previous actions by the Bridgeville Commission allow the developers to establish a Residential Planned Community (RPC) on the land.
“I’ve been living in this town for almost 50 years and it’s still the same way it was 50 years ago,” one Bridgeville resident said after casting a vote in favor of the annexation Saturday.
“The town and the residents ought to be very proud,” said Bonnie Walls, Bridgeville’s director of Development. “We started talking in June and five months later we have an annexation.”
The town has 1,436 residents, but only 259 are registered to vote in town elections. Of those 259, 128 voted on Saturday. Commission President Joe Conaway traced the size of the voter turnout to the lack of opposition to the project since it was introduced to the public in June.
“This is a good turnout. There was an exclamation point put on this vote,” Conaway said. “The town commission is just ecstatic over the vote of the people. It’s a mandate and we will move forward with that mandate.”
The Delaware Department of Agriculture voiced opposition to the project — the only opposition to the annexation — because of the agriculture preservation zones located one and a half miles from the town (prior to the annexation). State law requires towns to submit an annexation plan to the state which submits it to all state agencies.
“We submit that the state department of agriculture needs to read the (county and state) land use plans,” said Conaway. “You can’t put it (development) in the middle of nowhere. You have to put it where there is existing infrastructure.”
Next up for Allen and Rocks, Inc. is attaining all the necessary local, state, and federal permits for the development. The developer (through its architects Robert D. Rauch and Associates, Inc. of Easton) has indicated that the 173-acre golf course will be one of the first of its kind to be constructed.
Residential development will start with the construction of the commercial and sales facilities and various housing types in the vicinity of the sales area.
The development is expected to be designed and marketed to active adults. While the town residents’ primary task was completed with the annexation vote, the developers and the town have indicated that residents will be included in the process of designing the development.
“We’ll keep them informed; it’s their community,” Walls said.
“The public will have an opportunity to look at this in a number of different forms and they’ll have a chance to scrutinize this before anything is approved,” Robert Rauch, president of Robert D. Rauch and Associates, Inc., said.
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