Data center power plant gets conditional approval in Newark

 An artist's conception of The Data Centers project (photo courtesy TDC)

An artist's conception of The Data Centers project (photo courtesy TDC)

Plans for a combined heat and power plant connected to a data management and storage facility on the site of the former Chrysler assembly plant in Newark are moving forward. 

After hundreds of comments from the public and numerous hearings on the plans, the city of Newark has issued a conditional zoning verification for The Data Centers’ plans to build the power plant adjacent to its proposed 900,000 square foot facility.  

Opponents of the project objected to the noise and pollution they say the power plant would create and its close proximity to residential homes.

“The decision was a difficult one because of the weighty and complex matters involved,” said Maureen Feeney Roser, Newark’s director of planning and development.  “In the end, as with any zoning verification, the decision boiled down to the information presented to the city and how it corresponds to the zoning code and, in this case, the code’s definition of accessory use.”

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One of the conditions Newark is putting on TDC plan is a requirement to limit sales of excess power from the site to 30 percent of what the facility needs. Newark also reserves the right to change the conditions and limitations on the project if any information the company submitted to the city changes at any point in the development process.

The fight is not over for those opposed to the power plant.  A statement issued by the group Newark Residents Against the Power Plant says the group is disappointed by Newark’s decision.  “NRAPP argue[s] that TDC’s plans for the property are outside what is allowable by the zoning.”  

The city will be involved in the next step of the process as TDC works to get approval from Delaware environmental regulators. “The city, its legal counsel and consultants will take an active role with respect to The Data Centers, LLC’s pending air permit application with the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control,” said Newark City Manager Carol Houck.

Newark will also retain an independent environmental consultant “to make certain that air quality and environmental standards are met,” said Houck.

You can find a copy of the city’s decision on Newark’s website.

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