The Delaware City Refining Company is donating 19 acres of land to New Castle County in return for a five-year property tax exemption.
In 2011, the county gave PBF Energy, the company that owns the refinery, a five-year property tax-exemption and tax-exempt bond financing for reopening the plant and recreating the more than 600 jobs that were lost when Valero announced that they were closing the plant in 2009.
When PBF resurrected the more than 600 jobs with the refinery's reopening in 2011, the county had already agreed that as part of the property tax exemption the refinery would make the land donation to the county, said Councilman Bill Bell (D- Middletown).
The land, which is worth an estimated $546,000, is located off of Route 72 between U.S. Route 13 and Del. Route 1.
"The administration is interested in a solar farm and there have been suggestions of using the land for a cell tower," said Karl Kalbacher, the county's director of economic development.
The property is marketable and can also be used in the public or private sector.
County Council voted Sept. 4 to accept the land donation from Delaware City Refining Company LLC.
The parcel of land is zoned commercial regional and is not being used for the company's refining operations, said county spokesman Jim Grant.
Currently no taxes are being paid on the 19-acre parcel of land because it is being used as farmland.
Councilman George Smiley (D- New Castle) said that the property is being farmed via a verbal agreement.
New Castle County Executive Paul Clark said that following the formal transfer of the land; his administration will work with council to determine the best use for it.
"A solar farm would lower the county's energy costs and its carbon footprint while not adding any burden to local roads or other infrastructure," Clark said. "But we are willing to entertain other ideas from council and the private sector."