The residents of the South East region of the Greater Milford Area can be expecting some changes in the next few years. Officials from the City of Milford, Office of State Planning, Delaware Department of Transportation (DELDOT), Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) and Delaware Department of Agriculture have formed a unique partnership since 2008 to guide and regulate future growth and community development for the area. The City of Milford’s Comprehensive Plan was last adopted in 2009, and requires revisions to account for physical changes and potential growth in the Southeast Planning Area which have occurred in both the built and natural environments of the community.
The South East Neighborhood is the land located south and east of the City of Milford limits surrounding Route 1. A predominantly rural landscape, the South East region is comprised of 20% low density residential villages offering single family and multi-family homes and 80% community agriculture. With the future development of this area projected at 2% per year growth rate, the increase of residents and businesses will have an impact on the City of Milford. Growth in the area will lead to an increased use of the City’s services and businesses.
“The City of Milford is not actively pursuing annexation of the South East Neighborhood,” stated City Planner Gary Norris “but we want to be an essential part the development process since it will affect Milford in several ways. “
To facilitate this growth, DELDOT will begin construction of an overpass across Route 1 that will connect Wilkins Road and Cedar Neck Road just south of the business 1 exit off Route 1. Construction is said to begin at the end of 2012 and completed by the end of 2013. Other changes to the infrastructure in the area will include removal of a segment of Fork Road and improvements to the Sapps Road, Bucks Road and the intersection of Route 1 and Johnson Road.
The City of Milford has received a loan from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Office to fund a water tower, wells and a water treatment plant in the South East region.
“We are finalizing the location for the water tower and treatment plant now,” stated City Manager David Baird. “Once we do, we will be ready to start the projects and predict their completion in 18-20 months.”
The Master Plan Profile for the South East Neighborhood states that the area will become a “mix of medium to high density residential communities consistent with City of Milford zoning; both single family and multi-family housing options., New Regional Commercial Center surrounded by multifamily and/or mixed neighborhoods, with a hub at enhanced SR1/SR30 Interchange and new public-envisioned Town Center and a 200-Acre Employment Center adjacent to interchange hub”
In the Master Plan there is an Agricultural Preservation Plan developed by Delaware Department of Agriculture which preserves certain lands to the east in open space areas and a proposal for a Transfer of Development Rights Program. DNREC has incorporated an Environmental Protection Plan that identifies sensitive natural features and strategies to protect lands including woodlands, wetlands and stream corridors.
The Office of City Planning for Milford and the Delaware Office of State Planning have also prepared a profile for the South East Neighborhood for the years 2020 & 2030. The profile depicts a 10 and 20-year growth assuming a 2% per year growth rate, implementation of the SE Neighborhood Master Plan and annexation into the City of Milford. By year 2020 the profile depicts the development of 500 residential units and 160,000 square feet of nonresidential area. Hearthstone II subdivision will be underway, building to approximately 400 to 900 expected single family and multi-family residential units. One hundred acres of the new Employment Center, a medical/professional par, will be operational.
By the year 2030, 500 more residential units will be developed adjacent to the Employment Center and a new public-envisioned town center with mixed use will be constructed. A regional shopping center at the enhanced SR1/SR30 interchange will be built and the medical/professional center will be completed.
With the future of the South East Region of Milford dependent on the actions of multiple public and private entities and the uncertainty of the economy, it is difficult to determine exactly what the area will look like 10 and 20 years from now. The only certainty is that there will be change to the area in the future and possibly more pressure on the City of Milford to provide services to the increased population. The most visible and immediate changes will be the construction of the new overpass at the intersection of SR1 and SR30 and the creation of the City of Milford water tower and the water treatment plant . Residents in this area can expect to see a change in traffic patterns and volume through 2013, when all three projects are said to be completed.