Grassdale Remains Protected Open Space Land

In spite of being sold for private development, Grassdale officially remains protected Open Space Land. This link to the DNREC website shows Grassdale (purple triangle west of Rt. 9 and north of the canal) presented as “Lands Protected Under the Open Space Program”.

A FOIA request produced this link to the official database of properties acquired under the Delaware Open Space Program. The properties are listed by acquisition date which for Grassdale was 09/15/1994. John Finnegan sold Grassdale to the state on that date for $860,000. The deed stated that Grassdale was protected by two statutes:

“The said lands and premises are being acquired through the Delaware Land Protection Act, Title 7 Delaware Code Chapter 75, and any conversion of use is subject to this statute as well as to the regulations and manual of the Delaware Land and Water Conservation Trust Fund.”

The deed which transferred Grassdale to FDRPC in March 2016 maintained these protections. This Deed states that the sale is:

“All Subject, however, to all enforceable covenants, conditions, easements, reservations, restrictions and limitations of record…”  The deed specifically states that the Grassdale parcel is:

“ALSO UNDER AND SUBJECT to the condition that in all events the Premises shall only be used as contemplated by and authorized under Title 7 of the Delaware Code…”

In October 2021, FDRPC sold Grassdale to Sun Fort DuPont RV LLC. The Special Warranty Deed stated that:

“This conveyance is made and accepted subject to all matters of record listed on Exhibit B attached to this Deed.”

This deed was received as a FOIA response and was also recorded with New Castle County. In both versions Exhibit B is blank, displaying only this title, “Approved Title Matters” with “to be attached” below the title.

Still another FOIA request was sent to verify that this omission was not a clerical error. This request produced the same blank Exhibit B with the comment from FDRPC Counsel, Richard Forsten, that, “The corporation otherwise has no responsive records.”

This blank Exhibit B could be an attempt to remove the Open Space protections which Grassdale has retained for almost 30 years.