Last December, Delaware City Council approved a small, four-unit subdivision to be built on the vacant land at the northeast corner of Liberty Road and Belle Avenue. The subdivision was to encompass 1.34 acres of a parcel that totalled approximately 11 acres.
After further discussions between city officials and landowner Makapa LLC following the subdivision approval, a better use for the parcel, which sits adjacent to the Liberty Casting plant, has been found. The goal, Planning and Community Development Director Dave Efland said, was to find a use for the land that would serve as a transition from the residential homes that exist south and east of the site to the heavy industrial Liberty Casting plant across the street.
During council’s Aug. 26 meeting, it approved the preliminary development plan for a business park to be constructed on the site. Belle Commons Business Park, as the park is to be named, will feature light industrial or office space.
Documents submitted to the city as part of the proposal show six lots in the park, each just over an acre, with three on each side of a cul de sac extending from the park’s entrance on Liberty Road.
However, Jim Ullman, who spoke on behalf of the property owners, said the six lots being shown might not necessarily mean there will be six different businesses calling the park home. In fact, he said he doesn’t believe the property will ever sell as six lots. Instead, he said he envisions the potential for two or three users buying multiple lots.
As for uses, Ullman said he sees the lots being used as office-warehouse space for small businesses looking to build a headquarters. He later said there aren’t any specific buyers lined up due because the property’s use hadn’t been solidified yet.
There are existing trees lining both the south and east property lines. Efland said both areas will be preserved, which will create an additional buffer for the residents living in the homes on the south side of Belle Avenue and those directly east of the business park.
Whatever the use of the lots is, Ullman feels the business park is a good solution to all parties involved. In December, when the subdivision was approved, several residents were on hand during the meeting to caution against allowing more residential homes to be built in such close proximity to the Liberty Casting plant, which some said would create instant buyer’s remorse due to the constant aroma the plant creates in the area.
With property already zoned for residential use, the owners of the parcels were within their rights to proceed with the subdivision had they chosen to do so.
“We feel that (a business park) will give us the opportunity to market it, and it will be good for the city, as well as them,” Ullman said.
Prior to council’s approval, the proposal was approved by the City of Delaware Planning Commission with a unanimous vote. Council’s vote was also unanimous on Aug. 26.