Rezoning Could Push Back Move-in Date for DSU Students at Sheraton
DOVER, Del. -Students at Delaware State University may have to hold off moving in to their new home at the Sheraton Hotel along North DuPont Highway.
The university is leasing the hotel, after it was put up for sale.
"We want to do renovations on some of the older residential halls and this gives us a place where the students can live," said Carlos Holmes, spokesperson for Delaware State University.
Dover city leaders say the hotel has to meet zoning requirements before that can happen.
"We know that the rezoning can't meet their time frame for moving students in. We met with the university and the Sheraton yesterday (Tuesday) and are waiting on a letter from the universities attorney to request a zoning interpretation so that we can look at ways address the interim," said Ann Marie Townshend, Dover city planner.
Townshend said her office is trying to make sure things are done correctly and without haste, despite finding out about the deal by surprise.
"We found out in the paper on a Friday. We immediately made contact with the Sheraton and Delaware State and got meeting scheduled as quickly as possible so that we could be ahead of it and not behind it," Townshend said.
Holmes said university leaders did not intend for the agreement to come as a surprise.
"We were bound by a confidentiality agreement. The main intent was not to surprise people; the main intent was to get the deal done," said Holmes.
According to Dover City Council members, the lease of the hotel by DSU means a loss in thousands of dollars in tax revenue for the city.
"In the long term it means we will lose the tax base. Our biggest concern are job losses," said Councilman James Hutchison Sr.
Hutchison tells WBOC he has spoken with Axia Management, the owners of the Dover Sheraton. He said Hutchison Axia is working to find job replacements for its employees.
A rezoning application will go to the city's planning commission in August. It will then be decided on by the City Council in September.
When students can move in has yet to be determined, but Townshend said all parties are working on a solution.