The City of Delaware Planning and Community Development Department this week opened for business in a new location, the City Hall Annex that was formerly home to the Delaware Gazette.

The move from City Hall’s cramped second floor to the Annex was completed over a series of days.

There are two entrances to the new 2,500 square-foot space – an overhead walkway accessible from City Hall’s second floor, and via the Annex’s west side, ground level door. It marks the first expansion of City Hall workspace in more than 25 years – since City Hall renovations in 1992.

The department’s 10-person staff is one of the City’s busiest, handling a variety of services for a range of customers including residents, developers, business executives and contractors. “For the first time, we are able to provide a true work space designed specifically for the needs of our customers and staff,” department director Dave Efland said. “We will be more efficient while providing a professional work environment.”

Highlights include a conference room to meet with customers, and counter and table space large enough to handle the large design and blueprint documents the department processes on a daily basis.

More open work areas were necessary, too, Efland said. “We now have spaces where, together, we can do some actual ‘planning,’” he said.

Delaware has grown by about 15 percent over the last decade and the Planning Department has been at the forefront. Nearly 10,000 inspections, 2,000 enforcement actions, and almost 500 various permits are annually coordinated through the department. In addition, the department runs some of the City’s most-used community grant programs.

The City purchased the former Gazette building in 2013; the same building houses “The Newstand,” the home of COhatch Delaware’s co-working space.

Photo: The former Delaware Gazette Building before recent renovation

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