Supreme Court rejects appeal by Toll Brothers

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The Delaware Supreme Court, without comment, upheld a Superior Court decision that bars home-building giant Toll Brothers from constructing a housing development at the former Hercules Country Club.

The Superior Court decision came afterNew Castle County rejected the development of 260 homes in the hilly area west of Wilmington at a project that went under the name Delaware National.

As the decision noted, Toll Brothers had gone through an approval process for the development, only to find that the county ruling that traffic generated by the subdivision could not be supported by an existing road.

A Traffic Impact Study, conducted under the auspices of the Delaware Department of Transportation, gave the project a failing grade.

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The Traffic Impact Study is a key part of the county’s Unified Development Code, which puts projects through what the Superior Court ruling described as an arduous process.

Had the high court struck down the lower court decision, a key part of the code would have gone away.

Toll Brothers proposed a project to fix the intersection and DelDOT proposed a more expensive project.

The county Land Use Department went on to reject the fix and Toll Brothers appealed the decision, which was then upheld by the county Board of Adjustment.

The Superior Court decision rejected Toll’s claims that the county had no right to reject the traffic study and the the subdivision which had been in the works for half a decade.

To the north, Toll Brothers, which is based in suburban Philadelphia, has faced intense competition for a development in the Chadds Ford area on a tract believed to have been part of the Battle of Brandywine in the Revolutionary War.

In Philadelphia, opposition has arisen to a high-rise residential project in the city’s historic Jeweler’s Row area.

Developers have been eying golf course tracts, as tougher times and changing lifestyles led to fewer golfers and country club members.

Delaware National closed after an unsuccessful effort to keep the former Hercules-owned country club in operation during and after the deep recession of 2008 and 2009.

Publicly traded Toll, with deep pockets from profits made in building upscale “McMansions,” later acquired the property.

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