By Lynn Schofer

Rob Herrera of the Ninth Street Development Corporation provided an update to Seaford Council regarding the redevelopment of the Nylon Capital Shopping Center during last Tuesday’s meeting. Herrera said the survey field work and scanning base map prep is completed as well as the TOA traffic analysis which was forwarded to DelDOT. The architectural schematic planning development is completed, and design teams are ready to move forward. Other work includes the removal of eight tanks, six to date, and work is getting done to remove the final two tanks.  

Herrera said the first plan will soon be submitted to the city by Becker Morgan Group and the selection of a construction management team will be announced Nov. 9.  

Herrera noted the timeline provided in the presentation and target dates required several adjustments as all involved continued to work to get the site work and demolition started. The schedule includes the following updates: in late January, the full demolition and site demolition will begin. Herrera noted although some calendar target dates may require adjustments, the plan to begin Phase I is March 1, 2024, full sitework April 21, 2024, for a six-month process, and certificate of occupancy May 15, 2025. 

“We are making a lot of progress and a lot of the long lead time things that you don’t see have been completed,” said Herrera.

Herrera said there are some exciting things happening with anchor tenants and hopes to be able to make that announcement shortly. Herrera also reported Rite Aid will remain on site and is not on the nationwide list for closures.  He said Delaware Tech has increased square footage to two floors to expand programming and the healthcare tenant is close to making an official announcement and has requested an additional 9,000 square feet. 

“I really mean it when I say we look at our website and take it to heart,” Herrera said.

He announced the Mill will include an outdoor pickle ball court because many people made the request. The Mill will also include bocce ball courts and horseshoe pits. Herrera said the drawing is close to what will be submitted as the site plan, “we are really close to being locked in. I think I will be up again here soon to make a couple of big announcements.” 

Also announced by Herrera was an agreement with the Real Estate Broker NAI Coastal of Salisbury. He said retail space is being marked.   

A new development will be coming to Seaford at 22347 Sussex Highway and Old Furnace Road. The property owner, A. Jay Dolby, received council approval on the preliminary site plan review for proposed 169 single family lots. Building Official Mike Bailey said the agriculture land located off Old Furnace Road site plan consists of 51 acre parcels with each lot measuring 4,500 square feet. Councilman James King questioned the traffic flow and parking especially when emergency vehicles will need access and Bailey responded that the roads would need to be widened or include parking restrictions. The development will sit behind Binkley and Hurst on Sussex Highway North. 

In another order of business Delmarva Teen Challenge was granted a rezoning change from light industrial to low density residential and a line adjustment on a non-conforming property to be used to build two housing units. It will be the responsibility of the owners to do a Phase I and Phase II record search and soil sample, but it was noted there are no known contaminants on the property. 

Seaford resident Jeff Stevenson received a favorable vote of 5-0 to claim an unused right-of-way in front of a property he owns located at 811 Perkins Street. Stevenson said he plans to redevelop the area and is looking at all options for the property.  

Police Chief Marshall Craft presented revisions to the Employee Incentive Pay which increases the incentive bonus from $250 to $500. The policy provides a monetary reward to a city employee who successfully recommends a person who is hired and retains the position through all required probationary periods or in the case of the police department, at the time of graduation from the police academy. The Successful Candidate Referral Program was initiated in response to the nationwide struggles to recruit and retain qualified personnel. 

A second policy update was presented by Director of Finance June Merritt, on the Live Where You Work Policy. Merritt told the council it is getting more difficult to find and hire new employees and is confident this will encourage local residents to work for the city as well as investing in current employees. The eligible employee must live within the city for 12 months and provide an affidavit of residency. The annual allotment will depend on budget funding with a recommendation of $750 a year. The council approved both incentives.  

 A first reading was held on the revision to Seaford Municipal Code that bans marijuana cultivation facilities and retail marijuana stores from the C-1 General Commercial and C-1 Highway Commercial Districts in the city of Seaford. The revision comes on the heels of a previous ban within city limits, and this would now be a city-wide ban on the issues. Although the state passed the recreational use of marijuana, the council was told that no one has a recreational marijuana license because the state is still developing policy and regulations. Under this revision, any current or future medical stores will not be permitted to expand into recreational. 

Councilman King noted that tax revenue from the sales of marijuana is at a state level and not the municipal level. Councilman Dan Henderson said marijuana is legalized by the state of Delaware for recreational use but is still illegal on the federal level and would like council to adhere to federal regulations before making a zoning change. 

The manager of Fresh Delaware, Greg Huggler, spoke during public comments and said the products are vacuumed sealed. He said the company is strong on safety by hiring retired state troopers and the priority is to medical patients. He noted that the customer experience is to create a professional, clean, and comfortable environment. He noted the company has had no infractions in five years of operation first opening in Wilmington. 

A public hearing is scheduled for Nov. 28 for this policy revision.