January 2009


Except for the County Executive, there is probably no County employee more crucial to economic development in New Castle County (NCC) than the General Manager of the Department of Land Use.

Planning Directors and Land Use Managers range from those who see their role as protecting the community and environment from development to those who see their role as facilitating economic development. No matter what their land-use philosophy, all must contend with NIMBYs (Not in My Back Yard) and, increasingly, BANANAs (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything) who regularly threaten to throw elected officials out if they don't stop this development or that.

Land Use Managers who can't, or won't, stand up to extremists can impede economic development as much as those who directly oppose it. Others impede economic development by offering and codifying one impediment after another.

When, on October 3rd, Chris Coons announced his appointment of David M. Culver as General Manager of the Land Use Department, there was a collective sigh of relief. While Dave came directly from Havre de Grace, MD where he served as Planning Director, he had previously been with the NCC Department of Land Use for 10 years, most recently as Planning Manager, where he had demonstrated not only his planning expertise, but also, his fair and balanced handling of land-use issues.

At his appointment, Dave said, "We all must work together to be good stewards of our land, grow in a fiscally responsible manner, provide housing opportunities to all income levels, and create economic opportunities for our citizens." Dave will share his vision for the land-use process and changes he anticipates making in the Department.

Beverley Baxter


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