Where Will They Park?

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We are the property and business owners of 1703 and 1709 Concord Pike in Wilmington, Delaware.

We oppose the change of use of 1707 Concord Pike from general office to light auto service (auto detailing).

It has been 593 weeks and 3 days since we first complained to New Castle County about this property.


For all of you who own commercial properties in New Castle County or represent those who do, it seems that changing the use of a nonconforming property to a more intensive use does not require you come up to current code. If you have been spending tens of thousands of dollars to reduce your square footage, engineer parking plans, and/or get variances from the Board of Adjustment, then you have been duped by the Land Use Department.

And for those of you like us who have shared parking, be prepared to be overrun when one of your neighbors changes to a more intensive use. The County will lie to you and then look the other way. In their eyes, "shared parking" means "unlimited parking" and UDC Section 40.22.611 Subsection K does not apply.


When a property doesn't have the required number of parking spaces the owner is normally required to appear before the New Castle County Board of Adjustment to request a parking variance. See examples below, such as the McDonald's on DuPont Highway that only has 24 parking spaces but should have 51. They performed a parking study and the Board granted their variance. Also see the Wilmington Friends School case - should have 399 but only have 124. The community supported their variance and it was granted.


New Castle County Board Of Adjustment - 6/24/2010 - View Decision as PDF


Quotes from the decision:

He did so without a building permit, and without obtaining a variance, because he was told that he did not need one on "bad advice."

The Board agrees with the Department that the Applicant did not present an exceptional practical difficulty or special condition inherent in the land. The Applicant created his own hardship by building the garage without a permit, and, while this alone is not a decisive factor, the Board finds it weighs heavily against the Applicant.

If the Board were to grant the variance to expand the garage, and remove the restrictions, the neighboring properties would be seriously affected. The restrictions do not create "exceptional practical difficulty for the owner in relation to his efforts to make normal improvements on the character of that use of the property which is a permitted use under the use provisions of the ordinance [involved]."

New Castle County Board Of Adjustment - 1/27/2011 - View Decision as PDF

Quotes from the decision:

The Board found that the remaining variances will likely adversely affect surrounding properties as the variances are inconsistent with the character of the surrounding community.

By granting all of the variances and removing the restrictions the neighboring properties would be seriously affected.

If the restriction were not removed the restrictions would not create unnecessary hardship or exceptional practical difficulty for the owner in relation to his efforts to make use of this property as the Applicant provided a plan that would allow for the use of the land without such significant variance requests.


New Castle County Board Of Adjustment - 11/4/2010 - View Decision as PDF

713 Greenbank Rd

"to permit 8 parking spaces (12 parking spaces required)" - GRANTED


New Castle County Board Of Adjustment - 1/13/2011 - View Decision as PDF

McDonald's - 700 North DuPont Highway

"1. to permit 24 parking spaces (51 parking spaces required)" - GRANTED

"1. reduction of parking space due to the decrease in dine-in customers. The Applicant performed a parking study on a Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm. The parking study indicated that during the peak days and times only 17 spaces were utilized. The Applicant further testified that 75 percent of sales are from drive-through customers."


New Castle County Board Of Adjustment - 10/1/2012 - View Decision as PDF

Wilmington Friends School - 101 School Road

"2. to maintain 124 existing parking spaces (399 parking spaces required)" - GRANTED

"As a result of the date of construction, the school is deficient with regard to a number of site requirements, the most important of which in this case is the number of required parking spaces. While the parking requirement has undoubtedly increased over the years, the date of original construction, which predated the adoption of the former zoning code by almost two decades, remains the major reason for the off-street parking nonconformity. The Applicant has also represented to the Department that approximately 40 cars are parked on the street on school days, which does not trouble the neighborhood according to overwhelming community support, in the form of a signed petition and attendance at the Board hearing."

"The Applicant is requesting a very significant reduction in the number of required parking spaces: from 399 required parking spaces to the existing 124 existing parking spaces, and has no plans to provide more parking despite creating 3 net new classrooms; however, only 22 additional parking spaces of the 399 parking spaces are due to the addition of the 3 new classrooms, and the Applicant has represented to the Department that the no new parking will be needed because the 3 additional classrooms will not be used to accommodate additional students, but to provide additional classrooms for additional course offerings for the existing student body. It should also be noted the parking variance will eliminate the need for depict a future Parking Demand Needs Analysis (PDNA) parking area on the recorded plan. The existing temporary 62-space parking area, which was only constructed to provide additional parking during the demolition and reconstruction of the fire-damaged theater and gymnasium, will be returned to turf once construction has been completed."