NEWARK — The Felician Sisters of North America have submitted an exploratory site plan to New Castle County regarding the development of their property near Holy Family Church in Newark into a residential development.
The site, at 487 Chestnut Hill Road, was the longtime home of Our Lady of Grace Home, which opened in 1931 as a Felician-sponsored orphanage and later a group home for children. Children’s services ceased in 2009, and the Felician Sisters left the residence in 2014.
Plans call for 269 units, a mix of single-family homes, semi-detached twins, townhouses and apartments. The exploratory plan, filed on Dec. 21, included revisions made to address neighbors’ concerns about environmental damage, density of housing and other issues. Proposed connections to neighboring Breezewood and Todd Estates have been eliminated.
“The revised plan reduces the number of proposed housing units and the area to be developed,” the Felician Sisters said in a press release, “and increases the large expanse of open space preservation.”
The development will include 60 affordable-housing units that will continue to be owned by the Our Lady of Grace Home Corp., with the sisters providing oversight. That will comprise an 8.3-acre portion of the site. Some of the funding for the project will come from tax credits awarded by the Delaware State Housing Authority.
“The proposed plan will continue the Felician Sisters’ nearly 100-year legacy of compassionate service to area residents as well as our commitment to serving as responsible stewards of the environment,” said Sister Mary Christopher Moore, provincial minister of the Our Lady of Hope Province of the Felician Sisters of North America.
“The plan offers a beautiful way to help to respond to New Castle County residents at various income levels while respecting, preserving and sustaining a large tract of land at the site.”
Father Mark Kelleher, pastor of Holy Family, praised the sisters for taking into account their responsibility to Catholic social teaching and the community. He also noted that the Felicians will continue to supply a parcel of land for Holy Family’s summer carnival.