Dover council clears way for future Woodlands’ annexation

DOVER — City council voted 8-0 Monday to accept amendment changes to the city’s comprehensive plan, paving the way for Dover to annex property owned by Dover International Speedway.

Currently, 295 acres of The Woodlands of Dover International Speedway, which hosts events like Firefly Music Festival, sit outside city limits.

The adjustments to the comprehensive plan change zoning of the property from an agriculture use to a commercial use. That would clear the way for the city of Dover to annex 260 acres of The Woodlands.

The ordinance would move auto, horse and motorcycle race tracks from the conditional-use section to the permitted-use section.

The areas in blue are in Dover city limits. A joint effort between the city and Dover International Speedway proposes that Dover would annex the areas in yellow into the city limits, also. (Delaware State News file)

The areas in blue are in Dover city limits. A joint effort between the city and Dover International Speedway proposes that Dover would annex the areas in yellow into the city limits, also. (Delaware State News file)

The permitting issue has come to light since the speedway began hosting the Firefly Music Festival in 2012. Organizers have had to fill out two sets of permits, one for the Kent County and one for the city.

“It creates confusion when there’s a problem as to who dispatches or take cares of issues,” said Gregory Moore of Dover’s Becker Morgan Group, which represented the Dover International Speedway during Monday’s meeting.

“We are trying to consolidate all of our lands under one zoning, under one jurisdiction and clearly know that the city of Dover is control for these various services.”

While most of The Woodlands is set to be transferred to Dover, a 35-acre portion will remain the sole domain of the county.

Councilmen James Hutchison and Roy Sudler Jr. questioned potential permitted uses in the future.

“It would stay as it is for the festival,” said Anne Marie Townshend, the city’s director of planning and inspections. “There aren’t any anticipated developments changes proposed.

“At one point they may come in with showers and restrooms, but it hasn’t got to that point yet,” she said.

Mr. Moore agreed.

“We have no intentions to do anything other than what we’re doing,” he said.

“We don’t plan “to build any hotels or anything of that nature for that use.”

The first reading for the annexation was read during Monday’s meeting, and Ms. Townshend said everything hopefully will fall in place in April.

The amendment also proposes an activity and camping permit fee.

Capitol Shopping Center update

Ms. Townshend also offered a progress report for the properties at 1032-1058 S. DuPont Highway.

Last year council voted 5-3 to not demolish the properties, but instead granted the owner an extension to continue to make improvements by July 1.

The property is owned by BMDR LLC.

“There has been progression,” Ms. Townshend said. “The building to the north of this has been demolished and there are construction fencing up as well.”

The building was home to the Capitol Shopping Center at 1026-1056 S. DuPont Highway, which was condemned by the city last year, due to possible asbestos contamination.

The shopping center had a number of businesses, including a barbershop, nail salon and tattoo shop.

The major health effects associated with asbestos include lung cancer, mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer, and asbestosis, a non-cancerous disease of the lungs, according to the EPA.

Building plans prepared by a licensed architect are required in order for the city to issue a building permit for renovations.

Ms. Townshend said the city received the building permits last week.

“When the owner was here he said the he was going to fix the issues,” Ms. Townshend said.

“The permits came and we’re in the process of reviewing them.”

The city of Dover condemned the Capitol Shopping Center building on South DuPont Highway due to possible asbestos contamination. (Delaware State News file)

The city of Dover condemned the Capitol Shopping Center building on South DuPont Highway due to possible asbestos contamination. (Delaware State News file)

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