Meeting Minutes-Blue Ball Property Development

Meeting: Transportation Technical Committee
Date: August 16, 1999
Location: Ronald McDonald House, Rockland Road, New Castle County, Delaware


Members in attendance:

Mr. Eugene Abbott, Hon. Richard Abbott, Mr. David Albert, Ms. Beverley Baxter, Ms. Karen Bengston, Hon. Catherine A. Cloutier, Mr. Henry Daum, Mr. Tom DeSanto, Ms. Dee Durham, Hon. David H. Ennis, Mr. John Janowski, Ms. MaryAnn Kelly, Mr. Robert Kleinburd, Mr. William Krapf, Mr. Charles B. Manula, Mr. Joseph Mitchell, Mr. Ben Smith, Mr. Wayne Takemoto, Hon. Robert J. Valihura, Jr., Ms. Gail Van Gilder, Hon. Robert Weiner, Ms. L. Heather Williams.

Members absent:

Hon. Myrna L. Bair, Mr. Jim Bayard, Mr. David Blankenship, Hon. Patricia M. Blevins, Mr. Daniel Bockover, Mr. Rick Browne, Ms. Pam Cornforth, Mr. Ernie Cragg, Mr. Walt DelGiorno, Hon. Joseph G. DiPinto, Mr. David English, Mr. Tom Ferry, Bobbie Harvey, Mr. Michael Hewitt, Mr. Jim Higgins, Mr. David Hunt, Ms. Gwenneth Kaminsky-Rivera, Ms. Eleanor Kraak, Mr. Richard Mayo, Hon. Harris B. McDowell, III, Mr. William V. McGlinchey, Ms. Suzanne Moore, Mr. Thomas Noyes, Ms. Anita Puglisi, Hon. Roger P. Roy, Mr. Earl Shaffer, Mr. Robert J. Skomorucha, Hon. Wayne A. Smith, Hon. Liane M. Sorenson, Mr. Cash Srinivasan, Mr. Alex Taft, Mr. Ken Turoczy, Hon. Dallas Winslow, Mr. Joseph Wutka.


Mr. Richard Bartholomew, Ms. Margaret G. Bramble, Mr. Mark Chura, Mr. James P. Lisa, Jr., Mr. Darrell J. Minott, Mr. Bill Roberts.

  1. Introduction
    The kick-off meeting began with an introduction by Darrell J. Minott, Chair of the Executive Committee, who described this master-planning project as a three-pronged approach:
    • Create an attractive home for AstraZeneca
    • Address the existing traffic issues and future traffic issues related to future development.
    • Create a signature open space for the area and state that is a vital part of the State's plan.
    Mr. Minott referenced the recently completed Route 141 improvement project and its positive effect on the area. The redevelopment of the Blue Ball properties will continue this tradition of design excellence and commitment from the State to this master plan. He noted that the focus of the Blue Ball Master Plan encompasses approximately 215 acres on two sites just south of the AstraZeneca expansion site but is coordinating with AstraZeneca to create an overall plan that is mutually reinforcing and beneficial to the area. He also noted that this is a multi-year project but the bulk of the work will take place in the first year and a half. Mr. Minott then introduced James P. Lisa, Jr., Project Manager for the Blue Ball Master Plan from the Delaware Economic Development Office.
  2. Organization of Master Plan Efforts
    Jim Lisa discussed the organizational structure of the Blue Ball Master Plan. The Governor and the New Castle County Executive will provide leadership. An Executive Committee, chaired by Mr. Minott, is charged with the responsibility of completing the Master Plan for the Blue Ball Properties. A Project Policy Committee, comprised of state and local elected officials, is responsible for establishing general policy directions for development of the Master Plan and advising and consulting with the Executive Committee and Leadership Group.
    The primary working groups throughout the process consist of two committees and a coordination group. The Transportation Technical Committee and the Recreation and Historic Preservation Technical Committees are comprised of representatives from agencies, stakeholders and citizens groups with interest and/or expertise in a particular aspect of the Master Plan. They are charged with assisting the Leadership Group, Executive Committee and Master Plan team to achieve the goals and schedule of the Master Plan by discussing issues, reviewing the work of the Master Plan team, and offering comments and suggestions. The Technical Coordination Group, directed by Jim Lisa, is comprised of the Chairs of the other two groups, Bill Rhodunda of New Castle County and representatives from AstraZeneca. It will be responsible for the coordination of the technical work of the consultant team, the Technical Committees and the AstraZeneca Planning Committee. These groups will work with the lead consultants, Wallace Roberts & Todd and their sub-contractors, and report to an Executive Committee chaired by Darrell Minott.
  3. Master Plan Schedule
    Mr. Lisa also described the schedule for the Master Plan. The Transportation Committee and Recreation and Historic Preservation Committee will meet twice a month. These meetings are open to the public. The Technical Coordination Group will also meet twice a month and once a month there will be a Town Meeting to enable public feedback. In addition, a public relations campaign will be put in place to disseminate information about the project as well as a project web site to elicit public reaction and comments.
  4. Planning Consultant
    Mr. Lisa then introduced the lead consultants, Wallace Roberts and Todd. He noted that the consultants were instructed to begin the process with a clean slate and to create a Master Plan that will be implemented in the short-term.
    Bill Roberts, partner and co-founder of Wallace Roberts & Todd (WRT), introduced WRT as a multi-disciplinary firm that included Landscape Architecture. Environmental Planning, Planning, Urban Design and Architecture. WRT has worked on many projects in Delaware and in Wilmington. WRT has also worked with the National Parks Service and was responsible for the redevelopment of the Inner Harbor in Baltimore.
  5. Status of Early Data Collection
    John Beckman of WRT described the information currently gathered in creating a base for the area. He noted that although a comprehensive base does not exist for the area, WRT is currently working to create one from a variety of sources including DelDOT road s, US Geological Survey s, aerial photography and others. This will serve as the base information until November when new aerial photography can be taken without the interference of leaves and ground cover to produce an accurate of the topography of the area. John also presented an aerial photograph that WRT used to highlight some surrounding uses and their understanding of the area to date.
  6. Committee Orientation
    Eugene Abbott described his role as chair of the Transportation Technical Committee and prior work experience as a designer of both road networks and parks. Mr. Abbott noted that the Transportation Technical Committee will be focusing their efforts on the specific issues related to the Blue Ball properties and the potential alternate corridor but will also be looking at the broader transportation issues and their effects on surrounding communities. Mr. Abbott stated that the transportation elements of the Master Plan need to be agreed upon by May to begin the process of air quality conformance. Mr. Abbott also noted that the intent of the transportation design should evoke a parkway-like design and balance the transportation needs of future development with the objectives of the entire area. Mr. Abbott will coordinate communication of transportation issues and in the future, with the assistance of WRT, will present photo renderings to represent alternatives to the Committee and public.
    Mr. Abbott presented a handout that described three key aspects for the Transportation Technical Committee to address:
    • Committee Role - identify community issues for analysis, provide the community vision, maintain communication, work towards a consensus opinion, assist the consultants in meeting the project schedule and recommend the final transportation plan to the Executive Committee.
    • Technical Team Role - establish and maintain the planning schedule, document the community issues and opportunities, document the vision, assist in crafting alternative solutions and provide evaluation of alternatives.
    • Maintain Community Communication - the Committee will work on a consensus basis and should have continuing communication with the community and County and State representatives.
  7. Site Issues and Visioning
    Bill Roberts then invited those in attendance to list the transportation issues important to address in this Master Plan. He noted that after the list was developed, WRT would give Committee members red dots to use as currency to mark the issues they determined to be most important. This system is not used for determining a primary direction in the design and planning for the sites but only for the consultants to gauge the relative importance of issues as perceived by State and County representatives and local residents at this time. Following are the issues mentioned by those in attendance. The discussion began with several issues cited by Bob Wiener. Bolded items are those that received the prominent amount of dots.
    • Roadway and overall aesthetics including other site features such as the existing stone walls
    • Minimize impact on residential roads particularly Weldin, Faulk and Rockland Road
    • Address monitoring mitigation tools - a potential new function of DelDOT
    • Rename I95 to "Business I95" and 495 to I95
    • Protect residential character of adjacent neighborhoods, including Alapocas, Woodbrook, Deerhurst and Carolin.
    • Integrate greenway connections and historic structures in transportation plan
    • Minimize open space takings
    • Consider relocation Weldin Road to north edge of Blue Ball property
    • Integrate the timing of I95 improvements with those of our proposals
    • Redesign the storm water drainage of the area
    • AstraZeneca - maintain two access points to property
      • retain connections to existing campus
      • minimize taking of land for road improvements
      • complete road construction in time to support new facility
    • Ensure unimpeded access to hospital
    • Improve and coordinate traffic flow on Route 202
    • Reduce traffic on Alapocas Drive between Route 141 and Augustine cut-off
    • Dualize off ramp from I95 to Route 202
    • Reduce through traffic in Deerhurst
    • Address connection of greenway across Route 202
    • Mitigate intersection at Faulk Road and Route 202
    • Address safety of pedestrians and golfers crossing Rockland Road
    • Address utility service at hospital during any new road construction
    • Address "choke" point at the route 141 bridge - increase road capacity crossing Brandywine
  8. Next Steps
    • Meeting minutes will be forwarded as soon as possible.
    • The next meeting of the Transportation Technical Committee is scheduled for September 8, 1999, at 4:30 PM.