Newark Residents Vow to Continue Efforts to Stop the Power Plant


Contact: [email protected]
January 17, 2014

Newark Residents Vow to Continue Efforts to Stop the Power Plant

Planning next steps in their fight in light of the City Newark’s zoning decision.

NEWARK, DE — The Newark Residents Against the Power Plant (NRAPP) is disappointed by the recent zoning verification decision made by the City of Newark regarding the power plant/data center proposed by The Data Centers, LLC (TDC) on the University of Delaware (UD) STAR Campus and assert that the decision violates the City’s zoning code. The group vows to continue their fight to stop the construction of the power plant and will be soliciting funds for the effort.

According to what is allowable under the City of Newark STC zoning for the STAR Campus, power plants may be allowed if they are “accessory” and “customary.” Currently, it is the interpretation of what is accessory and customary that is at the heart of this issue. With this zoning verification, the City of Newark is saying that the proposed plan for a 900,000 square foot data center with an attached 279 MW natural gas-powered power plant meets the zoning requirement. NRAPP argue that TDC’s plans for the property are outside what is allowable by the zoning.  TDC’s own representatives have made clear that the financing for their project is contingent upon being able to sell electricity. In addition, TDC has claimed that their business model is unique and the “first of its kind”, which by definition is not customary.

Over 220 supporters joined in at a Candlelight Vigil organized by NRAPP and held in front of City Hall  on January 15th. The Vigil was first announced at 10pm on January 13th after Newark Mayor Polly Sierer revealed that the city had enough information to make a decision about the zoning verification and would issue a decision within 48-72 hours. A decision was actually not released until January 17, 2014.

NRAPP also questions the validity of the zoning verification decision after it was discovered that the certification of data requested by the City may have been improperly certified by M. Richard Beringer, PE. of Duffield Associates, TDC’s engineering firm. NRAPP requested that the City of Newark delay any verification of zoning until this matter was investigated.  The group received no response to their request.

NRAPP has also requested that the City respond to their repeated requests for more clarification about the zoning before issuing a decision. Again, the group received no response from the City.  (See Nov 11, 2013 letter and January 8, 2014 letter).

Newark residents began speaking out about the proposed power plant in June of this year and quickly organized into a grassroots group of hundreds of residents. So far the group has taken their case to the Newark City Council, the UD administration and state and federal legislators. Residents have questioned the scale of the power plant, the health implications from pollution, issues of safety, concerns about excessive noise, the impact to home prices, and the the lack of transparency and citizen oversight of the process among other concerns.  As the leaseholder of this power plant, UD also bears responsibility for addressing these concerns.

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Author: nnpp_user1

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