The fate of a farmhouse in one southern New Castle County community is in limbo.
"This is a difficult one because it appears to have been allowed to deteriorate to the point where it's a nuisance property," County Councilman Dave Carter on the historic farmhouse and barn at the back of the Bayberry Development in Middletown.
Some residents are upset that the developer, Blenheim, wants to raze the historic farmhouse and barn, known as the J. Houston House, and put five more lots up in the community.
Part of the agreement for the development was for the developer to preserve the structures, but those at a meeting, the developer said the structures are beyond repair.
Kevin Caneco believes letting the properties deteriorate was Blenheim's plan.
"They let it go into disrepair," said Caneco, who is leading the fight against the developer. "Let's tell the truth here, and they're not doing that. When they acquired the house, was it a perfect house? No, but could it have been preserved? Yes, and it's been done, time after time after time again. They made a choice: make money over preservation, and that's wrong. I think the people of southern New Castle County are tired of it."
WDEL wasn't permitted inside the meeting at the Bayberry Development because a Blenheim official told WDEL it was a private meeting with residents.
But Caneco wasn't the only resident willing to talk to WDEL after the meeting.
Dorothy Myers' home looks out at the farmhouse and barn.
"We really don't think they should be profiting off us by having the five lots, and we feel they let the house go to disrepair on purpose," said Myers.
Myers added that her neighbors feel the same way.
Other residents who didn't want to go on the record were in favor of knocking down the farmhouse and barn if it can't be fixed, and while some felt that way, they also were disappointed the property was allowed to get to that point.
In an email sent to WDEL, Jay Zionkowski, who lives on near the farmhouse and barn, and he is in support of the developer's plan which features a brand new park with a pavilion, a tot lot, exercise stations, and bird boxes to attract natural wildlife.
"Children often play in the road on the west side and this would be a much safer location for them to play, in the park," said Zionkowski in the email.
Zionkowski argues this plan will raise home values, while he wrote they will surely decrease, "if the farmhouse is left to fall apart."
He adds there are many residents near him who support Blenheim's plan.
Councilman Carter did add his hope is the council will look at the codes, and put safeguards in to not allow a property that is agreed to be preserved not go into disrepair.
The county Historic Review Board will listen to arguments for a demolition permit on the J. Houston House on Tuesday, June 18, 2019.