A property owner preparing to go through the city of Dover’s development process has requested permission to install gasoline pumps similar to those found in front of a handful of local grocery and convenience stores.


A property owner preparing to go through the city of Dover’s development process has requested permission to install gasoline pumps similar to those found in front of a handful of local grocery and convenience stores at the former Playtex site.

But this unnamed limited liability company needs the city of Dover’s code to be revised in order to allow that to happen, Dover Director of Planning and Community Development Ann Marie Townshend said.The LLC is interested in the Playtex site, which falls within a neighborhood shopping center zone.

But Townshend could not identify who the would-be developer is, although limited liability company has initiated contact with DelDOT and the state PLUS, she said.

“We don’t have an application yet. We know that there’s an interest,” she said. “And we did look at all the locations where the neighborhood shopping center zones exist and it seemed to be something that would make sense in any of those locations.”

There are four or five properties that fall within the neighborhood shopping center zone, Townshend said. They include Safeway and the Royal Farms and Wawa convenience stores on U.S. Route 13 or Del. Route 8, among other places, she said. Each has gas pumps that help attract customers to retailers' grocery inventories.

The city Planing Department believes the city code should be changed to allow for more such properties as opposed to rezoning each property, Townshend said. As such, Dover City Council heard City Clerk Traci McDowell give the first reading of an ordinance to permit the use of so-called “accessory use” gas pumps in neighborhood shopping center zones at its Monday night meeting in Dover City Hall.

However, this ordinance would prohibit wholesaling, warehousing, storage and motor vehicle service or sales, she said. And the Planning Commission would hold a public hearing to grant conditional use of the gas pumps, provided they are in character with the community.

“The idea is, if it’s a flaw in the ordinance itself  - something that should be permitted in those areas – we look at fixing the ordinance rather than rezoning out of the problem,” she said.

The neighborhood shopping center zone includes businesses, professional and government offices, public libraries, banks and restaurants.