New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer announced that nearly 250 acres of farm and wildlife lands near the Port Penn area of southern New Castle County are no longer subject to development.
The now protected Warren and Gillespie tracts are viewed as critical pieces of land because of their proximity to sea level and sensitive habitat for native and migrating birds on the East Coast flyway.
The designation closes a nearly decade-long tug of war that eliminated two pending lawsuits and comes at no cost to New Castle County taxpayers.
“Today we put preservation over development, at zero cost to the taxpayer,” said Meyer. “This will preserve nearly 250 acres in southern New Castle County, provide 40 acres of open space for a future park, and dramatically reduce threats to water quality. It further brings closure to over a decade of lawsuits related to development in this area. I am pleased to announce this win-win arrangement that will conserve critical habitat for future generations.”
“Members of the New Castle County Farm Bureau and I greatly appreciate your commitment to preserving agriculture in the county,” said Stewart Ramsey, president of the New Castle County Farm Bureau. “The use of a transfer development rights (TDR) program is a creative and economical way to manage growth and preserve one of the county’s very scarce resources, farm land. This preservation project should give other landowners hope that New Castle County is serious about managing growth in a fair and equitable manner.”
“Agriculture is an important part of Delaware’s heritage. We celebrate the preservation of farmland and open space because of what it means for Delaware’s farmers, community members, and native wildlife,” said Delaware Nature Society Executive Director Anne Harper. “DelNature is glad to see this commitment to preservation because farmland lost is farmland lost forever.”
“Delaware Wild Lands congratulates New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer, County government, and all those involved for this triple win that supports farmers and continued agricultural production, protects wildlife habitat and natural resources critical to the future of our state and utilizes tools that foster growth in strategic areas,” said Kate Hackett, executive director of Delaware Wild Lands. “This work builds on and expands decades of public-private investment in ensuring the longevity of pastoral landscapes and biodiversity associated with Augustine Creek and the Thousand Acre Marsh.”