Delaware council OKs UDF rebuild for William Street

City admins: No evidence of flooding rish

PAUL COMSTOCK
ThisWeekNEWS.com
Delaware City Council on Sept. 28 gave United Dairy Farmers permission to raze and rebuild its store at 123 W. William St. Leaders say there’s no evidence the project will increase the chances of flooding by Delaware Run, which flows under the site.

Delaware City Council on Sept. 28 gave a green light to a new United Dairy Farmers store and gas station after city administrators said there is no evidence the project will increase the risk of flooding by Delaware Run, which flows under the site. 

UDF plans to replace the existing building at 123 W. William St. after buying three adjacent properties that will enlarge the site to 0.76 acre.

The finished project would have 29 parking spaces and four gasoline pumps. The store’s size would increase from 3,530 to 4,061 square feet.

Council approved ordinances granting UDF a conditional-use permit and approving the preliminary development plan. The site is zoned commercial.

Delaware Run, which overflowed and caused widespread flooding May 19, runs beneath several streets and businesses in downtown Delaware. Considerable flooding occurred both upstream and downstream of UDF.

The store sits above the end of a roughly 700-foot-long stretch of Delaware Run that's enclosed from a point north of Boardman Park, across William Street from UDF, to just south of UDF along the U.S. Post Office parking lot, city engineer Bill Ferrigno told council.

City planning director Dave Efland told council the city has approved an engineering analysis submitted by UDF.

Efland told the city’s planning commission Sept. 2 the project will improve the condition of the culvert that carries Delaware Run under the gas station.

Deputy city engineer Matt Weber told the planning commission that replacing the culvert under UDF with one with a smoother interior can be expected to improve flow during high-water conditions.

"The run is obviously important to all of us, and what we're trying to have applicants demonstrate in these cases is that there will not be a technically demonstrated impact to the Delaware Run by the proposed development," Efland told council.

UDF has achieved compliance and the city's approval process follows the requirements of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, he said. .

Ferrigno told council, "This project isn't going to add to (water) restriction problems that are already there, being at the very tail end of that particularly long 700-foot culvert."

The city has looked at possibly exposing Delaware Run to open air north of Boardman Park to improve flow, he said, adding that's "still definitely a project that can be on the table." 

Efland told the planning commission that photos taken during the May flood showed "clearly headroom left in this (culvert). ... There was room between the top of the water and the top of the pipe. ... That leads one to believe that it's not necessarily the capacity of that pipe that's the issue."

The UDF entrance from Liberty Street will remain with two William Street access points -- one right-in, right-out only and the other full access, a city staff report said.

A Tim Hortons shop is east of the UDF site, and Efland said the company has had intermittent talks with the city about a possible redevelopment there, as well.

If that happens, he said, it could create the opportunity for William Street access shared by both businesses. UDF's plan also works as-is, he said.    

Currently, he said, "It's very difficult to get into the site today." 

Delaware resident Brett Latta commented on UDF’s plan during the meeting, which was livestreamed via the city's Facebook page.

He said he opposes the plan in part because it would enclose an additional 96.8 feet of now-open Delaware Run in a 16-by-8-foot box culvert.

Lee Yoakum, the city’s community affairs coordinator, said after the meeting, "The proposal, while increasing slightly the amount of the run which is piped, actually sets the proposed building back further from the run and floodway than it currently is. This will improve traffic circulation and safety on the site and on the nearby street network."

Some of Delaware Run will remain open on the property, he said. 

Council member George Hellinger voted against the ordinances without comment. 

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