DelDOT gave a presentation as to why it is embarking on the Greenwood and Bridgeville Transportation Study, audit information was provided regarding the financial state of Bridgeville, and Bruce Smith engaged in his last Commission meeting as a Bridgeville commissioner. Those, and other topics of discussion occurred at the Bridgeville Commission meeting held Monday, Feb. 13 in the Bridgeville Public Library.
Among the town reports, Town Manager Bethany DeBussy’s report stated that the town issued eight building permits totaling $5,309.38. There was only one building permit issued for new construction. It was explained that was to be expected following the 154 permits obtained the month prior. The town also received a check from the Recorder of Deeds for realty transfer taxes in the amount of $117,735.63, collected on the town’s behalf in December. The town has a balance of $2,475,562.23 that they may earmark for future debt payments or capital projects.
In land use and development, the next stage for the Bridgeville Town Center between Routes 13 and 404, behind Food Lion, is in final development plan approval. The preliminary approval occurred in August of 2022. Another pending application is a new minor development plan of Ghulam Dastgir. The preliminary approval occurred last May. More applications are expected in April regarding Heritage Shores Phase six.
Applications discussed in this month’s meeting included the final development plan of PODS – GED S. Main Dist., LLC. Ken Christenbury gave the presentation. He addressed prior concerns regarding entrance and exit ways for the contained, climate-controlled warehouse. He said all outside approvals were obtained.
Commission President Tom Carey asked about a screening plan. Christenbury answered that tall trees like junipers and other trees would be planted. Commissioner John Tomeski asked about empty pods and fire safety. Christenbury responded that empty pods would be stacked three-high. He also said that the building will be equipped with a sprinkler system; there is also a fire hydrant directly outside of the proposed building. Dr. Marlene Saunders asked about the color of the building; he responded it would be earth tones. President Carey asked how many people would be employed there. Spokesperson Stevi Ann Ognibene responded 12 to 15 people would be employed there full-time in phase one, with up to 20 people employed by phase two of the project. The final approval was given in a vote of five to one in favor of the project.
Also up for an application was Rt. 13 Self Storage of Bridgeville, presented by Dove Estates, LLC. They were asking for conditional use for the mini storage facility. It was proposed to be erected on the corner of Passwaters Farm Road and Route 13, abutting Heritage Shores. Dan Foster – owner of the property – and his spokesperson Alan Decker laid out plans to erect two climate-controlled facilities, along with outside storage facilities lining the area. Decker said it would be built in four or five phases. He stated it was a “very community friendly project that will benefit the community.”
During the public hearing aspect, Mike Harrigan from Heritage Shores was concerned about possible vandalism. Foster said with the updates in security, there should be no issue. Clifford Oliver, also of Heritage Shores, had 18 hand-written objections to the proposed project that he sent in to the Commission prior to the meeting. He spoke for three minutes regarding possible issues, and encouraged the Commission to hold an executive session to discuss with the town attorney regarding possible problems with those who were turned down at the Jimmy’s Grille site.
They didn’t need an executive session, because President Carey stated Dove Estates did not present a valid reason to grant conditional use. He stated self-storage units were not consistent with current code. He also stated that in a five-mile radius, there were already 11 self-storage units in existence, five of those units within a two-mile radius of Bridgeville. He noted that Seaford – a city with a much larger population than Bridgeville – did not have as many self-storage facilities as Bridgeville. The conditional use application was denied, 5-0.
As part of the town manager’s report, DeBussy stated the Commission election was canceled due to one person filing to run in each district up for grabs. In district one, the new commissioner will be Clifford Oliver. He has been a resident of Bridgeville since 2005 and was on the Planning and Zoning Commission. There is now an open seat in the Planning and Zoning Commission that needs filled. Interested applicants should submit a letter of interest to the town manager for consideration by the Commission at their next available meeting. Letters of interest can be mailed or emailed. That seat will fill the remainder of a term, with an expiration date of Dec. 31, 2025.
The other two seats on the Bridgeville Commission are being held by John Tomeski in district three for a one-year term, and Thomas Carey in district four, for a two-year term. They will all be sworn in at the regularly scheduled meeting on March 13 at the Bridgeville Public Library.
This month, Rick Passwaters – street superintendent – is celebrating 28 years on the job with Bridgeville. Water Department Superintendent Brandon Slater is celebrating his third anniversary with the town this month. Shelley Lambden, town clerk, is now a certified Child Safety Seat Technician. To have your child’s safety seat checked for free, make an appointment through the Bridgeville Police Department.
DeBussy also said that the town worked with the Bridgeville Public Library to honor individuals from the Hometown Heroes Banner Program as part of Black History Month. Several events are happening in Bridgeville to pay tribute to local individuals and history during the month of February. On Saturday, Feb. 25, a gala and reception featuring the premiere of an alumni documentary will occur between 2 and 6 p.m. Commissioner Saunders said the display in the library was beautiful.
In January, the 65th annual Appreciation Dinner was held, where the town presented a “big check” to the Bridgeville Volunteer Fire Department for their portion of the Emergency Services Fund. A total of $67,398.75 will be slated to help purchase a new ambulance. The ambulance will replace the older 1994 vehicle.
Also, the “community camera sign-up form” and the “property check request form” were added to the Bridgeville town website. If you have a security camera at your residence or business and want to help officers with investigations, sign up for the community camera log. Collected information will not be shared with the public. If traveling, you can request the police department to check on your property while gone.
Under new business, in addition to the two public hearings, DelDOT presented the Greenwood and Bridgeville Transportation Study. The town of Bridgeville has been collaborating with DelDOT since November to present with the town of Greenwood the first open public workshop on Feb. 23 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Woodbridge High School cafeteria.
The purpose of the DelDOT presentation was to show the purpose of the study, to update local transportation plans for the Bridgeville and Greenwood areas. They want to collaboratively develop future – at least 20 years in the future – transportation planning resources to support the towns and DelDOT. The tailored planning will focus on safety, mobility, economic and residential growth and development, quality of life, plus other opportunities to be identified as they come up.
In the presentation, it stated that special care is being paid to maintaining the small-town feel of Greenwood and Bridgeville, while paying attention to the increased vehicular needs surrounding the area. The presenter said they hope to see younger people at the public workshop, because they are the people who will be affected in the future by what happens today.
Carey said he will refrain from questions until the workshop. The workshop will be an “open house” style workshop with informational displays, activities, and staff from the Delaware Department of Transportation, along with town officials to discuss and answer the public’s questions. To learn more, either visit the workshop at 14712 Woodbridge Road at the High School cafeteria, or visit https://bridgeville.delaware.gov/information-plans-maps/2023-greenwood-and-bridgeville-transportation-plan/.
Also discussed in the meeting, which ran about two hours, was the FY22 Audit presented by Lank, Johnson and Tull, CPAs, who have been auditors for Bridgeville since the late 1980s. Tull said while the town lost a revenue with the loss of the water management plant, it is doing “good financially.” The total assets of the town equal $17,297,422. Tull said compared to other towns, Bridgeville has gotten “stronger and stronger and unloaded a lot of debt with the sewage management.”
Carey said, “If it wasn’t for our town manager, we wouldn’t have all of the grants we’ve had.”
Also approved by the Commission: a resolution to adopt Sussex County Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan; approval of the water tower maintenance 10-year contract; an increase in Hometown Heroes Banners; as well as grant in aid requests. Commissioner Bruce Smith allotted the last of his grant in aid money – giving $250 each – to the Bridgeville Historical Society, and Bridgeville Kiwanis Foundation.
During “Good of the Order,” the Commissioners as a whole thanked Smith for his time as a commissioner. Carey later said since Bruce came on, “he’s devoted his time and attention to all matters. He’s been an asset to me. I wish all future commissioners are as involved as he has been.”
Smith said after taking a break, he may volunteer at Economic Development. He was a liaison between the Commission and the committee. He will be a busy man, already a board member of Bridgeville Rifle and Pistol Club as well as the Delaware State Sportsman Association. He is also the founder of Delaware Association of Federal Firearms Licenses.
Commissioner Tomeski said he would encourage the public to attend the Woodbridge Middle School Production of “The Little Mermaid,” the weekend of Feb. 17-19.