By Lynn R. Parks

“This is Amazon.”

That was how Seaford building official Mike Bailey started a public hearing Tuesday night on proposed construction on the west edge of town. Following the hearing, the city council approved preliminary site plans for two properties along Dulaney Street that Amazon intends to use for a new distribution center.

The Amazon center, in combination with construction at the city’s new business campus that was also announced at Tuesday’s meeting, could mean hundreds of jobs for the area. (See related story in next week’s paper.) 

Mayor David Genshaw expressed his thanks to city employees who have worked on the Western Sussex Business Campus project and on the Amazon project.

“This is one of the most interesting meetings we have ever had,” Genshaw said. “I want to thank all of our employees. Everybody is focused on growing business, and your work is paying off.”

Genshaw also had thanks for a higher authority. 

“I have to thank God for his blessings on our town,” he said. “We have truly been blessed during a very difficult time with two very huge projects. Not that a lot of people haven’t worked hard on all of this, but God has moved in a big way.”

One property that Amazon plans to use for its distribution center formerly housed transportation services for Penco Warehousing, Bailey said. The second property is the location of the shuttered Southern States facility.

Amazon plans to use the former Penco building for its distribution center, Bailey said. The old Southern States site will be used for a parking lot. 

City utilities on the site will have to be expanded and the facility will require construction of two stormwater management ponds. In addition, the new Amazon center will be located within 100 feet of one of the city’s water wells. Bailey told councilmen that final plans will include details about how the construction will meet mandates regarding protecting the water quality. 

Real estate firm NAI Coastal, Salisbury, Md., announced Monday that it had brokered a lease of the properties for construction of an Amazon distribution facility. The facility is expected to bring hundreds of jobs to the area, NAI said. The two parking lots there will accommodate nearly 700 cars. 

Wages will start at $15 an hour, NAI said. 

Just one Seaford resident spoke during Tuesday evening’s public hearing on the project. “This is a fantastic thing for Seaford, and will mean a big economic boost,” said Toby French, chairman of Seaford Tomorrow. 

French also asked how traffic from the facility will be managed. 

City Manager Charles Anderson said that the Amazon center will be accessed from Dulaney Street, a city-maintained street that on the west end connects with Stein Highway. As such, arrangements along the city street will not require permits from DelDOT. In its initial reviews, the city has suggested placement of stop signs to control the traffic in parking lots as well as entering Dulaney Street. 

Councilman Dan Henderson reminded councilman that in the 1980s and 1990s, when the Penco facility was in full swing, the area had heavy traffic. “We’ve become accustomed to light traffic on that street,” he said. “But in previous decades, that area was heavily trafficked. It will, hopefully, return to that condition.”

Friday is last day to register to vote in municipal election

Residents of the city of Seaford will go to the polls on Saturday, April 17. Two council seats, currently held by Orlando Holland and James King, will be decided in the election. 

Both Holland and King are running for reelection. Also running are Jeffrey Benson, who is currently serving on the Seaford School Board, and Scott Pickinpaugh, a member of the city’s planning and zoning and electric committees. 

The deadline for city residents to register to vote in the municipal election is this Friday. Only residents who are registered separately with the city will be able to cast ballots. 

A registration form is available on the city’s website, Under the “Government” tab, click on “Elections” then on “Voter Application” at the bottom of the page. 

City hall will be open after-hours to allow residents to cast absentee ballots. Those hours will be Saturday, April 10, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Wednesday, April 14, 5 to 7 p.m. For addition information, call city hall, 629-9173.