County Council approves rezoning, confirms Setting as chief

By Tom Lehman 2:01am, February 27, 2013 - Updated 5:27pm, February 27, 2013
County Councilman Bill Powers discusses the rezoning
New Castle County Council approved a rezoning in the North Smyrna area and OK'd Elmer Setting as the county's police chief Tuesday night.

Council approved the rezoning of more than 33 acres located Rt. 13 to allow for the construction a facility to store garbage trucks. It received approval despite objections from some residents of the Village of Savannah community, which is located across from the planned development. The 12-1 decision came after nearly two hours of public comment from area residents and State Sen. Bruce Ennis (D-Smyrna) and presentation by the developers.

Councilman Bill Powers, whose district includes the area in question, says he understood residents' concerns but was among the 12 council members who voted for the rezoning.

"I farm. I'm for preservation. I'm trying to get a TDR bill so we preserve something, have some private funds for preserving farms. I'm totally for that, but we all have kids that have lived here in the amount of time and need jobs too," Powers said.

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No trash or recycling would occur at the facility, but vehicle maintenance and repairs would be performed. The space would be mostly used to hold 75 trucks and 100 parking spots for employees, while a 15,040 square ft. facility would also be constructed on the lot.

The issue of the area's surrounding character was among the reasons why members of the Savannah community argued against the rezoning, but Larry Tarabicos, an attorney representing Waste Industries argued otherwise.

"What is along this community? There are industrial uses, commercial uses, Mid Del Auto Parts, an RV sales and rental...There are a number of uses in the area and it defines what's in the area," Tarabicos said.

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The garbage company seeks to use the new location to expand, Tarabicos said.

Some residents expressed fears that nearby water supplies could be contaminated, but Powers believes the required water systems at the site will prevent that scenario from happening.

"When it was brought up I asked for the monitoring wells. If there is a problem it'll catch it. If there's a problem, technically even on DelDOT's property, they'll catch it," he says.

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Setting confirmed as county police chief

Elmer Setting, who'd been serving as the county's acting police chief since last November, received unanimous approval to officially assume the role after receiving unanimous approval from County Council.

Setting says it's a moment of pride as he takes command over the agency he's been part of since 1989.

"We were an agency of 225 officers. We're 373 strong. We are the best trained and the best equipped. It's a very proud moment to be leading the agency when it's at a high watermark," Setting said.

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He says he plans to invest into the department's analytical policing system and criminal investigations unit to help focus on drug and property crime.

Setting replaced former Chief Scott McClaren, who announced his retirement last November.

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