Gordon to provide full disclosure on land use deals

County Executive Tom Gordon talks with WDEL's Rick Jensen about plans to reform the county's troubled land use process after the controversial, ongoing Barley Mill Plaza redevelopment project.

WDEL's Amy Cherry reports.

County Executive Gordon tells WDEL the first thing he'll change to prevent state influence that benefits the developer--like what happened with Stoltz and Barley Mill.

"Right now, what happens, the developer comes in and threatens the community with redevelopment if they don't go along with their rezoning request. So it's used as a leverage or a threat," explains Gordon.

Gordon says he plans to provide county residents with full disclosure on future land use deals, something they weren't privy to in the past.

"Every plan that comes in is on the web, memos, e-mails are on the web, every time there's a contact with someone in our land use department, it's on the web," he says.

"We've got to get about the business of protecting the quality of life while keeping in balance the need for revitalizing some of these old areas, but not throwing the baby out of the bath," Gordon tells WDEL.

Gordon says he'll bring together all the stakeholders and hire the best consultant in the country to revamp the unified development code (UDC) so something like Barley Mill doesn't happen again.

"Certainly, the largest rezoning project in the history of the county, and you're not going to do a traffic impact study, you're not going to include the Tyler McConnell Bridge, it's just wrong, and it got done by all levels of people affecting it," says Gordon.

He says reforming the UDC will require public debate and cooperation from County Council, saying we need clear and predictable property rights in New Castle County.

"You know, it wasn't a bible, it should've been amended," says Gordon.

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