Christiana Town Center v. NCC


Oral Argument
09/02/09 – 09/02/09

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Case Description: Sears submitted an exploratory sketch to the New Castle County Department of Land Use that set out Sears’ plan for a 447,000 square-foot shopping center on 45 acres of land. Sears also requested rezoning to Commercial, Retail to make the property appropriate for community and regional commercial services. Sears offered to build a storm water management system to alleviate drainage problems on the adjoining land. Additionally, Sears proposed expanding Eagle Run Road across the property to connect Routes 273 and 7 and to decrease traffic congestion in the area. The New Castle County Planning Board and the Department of Land Use approved Sears’ preliminary plan and recommended that the County Council approve the rezoning. DelDOT expected Sears’ plan and other developments to increase traffic surrounding the property. Accordingly, DelDOT recommended conditioning the issuance of any building permits on Sears’ reaching an agreement with DelDOT to fund part of the road-improvement costs. CTC sent a letter to the County Council urging it to deny the rezoning. It alleged that the Eagle Run-Route 273 intersection already suffered from dangerous congestion, and that constructing a new shopping center on Eagle Run 3Road would only make the problem worse. Second, CTC asserted that the UDC required Sears to submit a traffic impact study for this rezoning. CTC presented its argument in person, when the County Council met to consider the rezoning. The County Council unanimously approved the rezoning to Commercial, Regional. CTC then sued Sears, KRC, and New Castle County in the Court of Chancery. The Vice Chancellor dismissed the suit, holding that the plan complied with the requirements of the UDC. CTC appeals from that judgment

Proceedings Description: Christiana Town Center, LLC; CTC Phase II, LLC; and CTC East, LLC appeal the Vice Chancellor’s decision upholding the New Castle County Council’s approval of KRC Acquisitions, Inc. and Sears, Roebuck and Co., Inc.’s rezoning and development project. CTC argues the Vice Chancellor erroneously decided that (1) the Unified Development Code ambiguously defines major plans, (2) the County Council’s interpretation of the UDC deserves deference, and (3) Sears’ rezoning does not constitute a major plan.

Outcome: The Supreme Court of Delaware affirms the Vice Chancellor’s ruling

Case Information
Case Number
189, 2009
Practice Area
Antitrust and Trade Regulation
Expert Witnesses
    Lay Witnesses


      Recording Disclaimer: This proceeding was recorded in full.

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