Residents Share Concerns Over Two New Billboards

On Tuesday, February 17 the City of Milford Planning and Zoning Committee held a public hearing to discuss the construction of two billboards signs that are being proposed at Route 1 and CR 206 (Cedar Neck Road). Representatives from First State Signs, Incorporated, on behalf of Key Properties Group, and residents of the South East Region were present at the meeting that discussed the possibility the two new signs as early as March of 2012.

The location of the two proposed signs is a triangular parcel of land located between three roadways in the South East Region of Milford. The property is surrounded by Route 1, Route 30 (Cedar Creek Road) and CR 206 (Cedar Neck Road) just north of the proposed overpass that will be located at the intersection of Route 30 and Route 1. Construction of the overpass is said to begin at the end of 2012 and the interchange is expected to be completed by summer 2014.

At Tuesday night’s meeting Dale McCalister of First State Signs presented the two structures to the Planning Committee and stated that both signs met the zoning requirements set forth by the City of Milford. Under the Municipal Code of The City of Milford a billboard located on a C-3, Highway Commercial District, property, ”shall be constructed and maintained in accordance with the Delaware Code.”

Residents of surrounding neighborhoods including Matlinds Estates and the Meadows at Shawnee came out to the public hearing to have their voices heard regarding the proposed signage. Many residents in this area feel that the visibility and the size of the structures will impede their quality of life and effect the value of their homes. The northern most sign on the property will have a total height of 28 feet as the southern most sign will have a total height of 48 feet.

“Who is going to pay me for the reduction in my property due to the construction of these signs,” commented local resident Jim Higgins. “I don’t know anyone who wants to buy property knowing that their is a forty five foot structure in their back yard. I did not buy a commercial property, I bought a residential property where I could retire.”

Several of Mr. Higgins neighbors stood before the Planning Commission and echoed his concerns about the possibility of decreasing property value in the surrounding area. Linda Boone of the Meadows at Shawnee expressed her concern for this approval setting a precedent for the construction of more billboard signs in the area.

“Please think about the decision you are making here,” commented Ms. Boone. “First we had two billboards in this area and now we are going to have two more. What will prevent even more billboards from being put up.”

The two billboards that Ms. Boone referred to at Tuesday night’s meeting, currently stand on properties in the South East Region of Milford. First State Signs reaffirmed that the current signage will be taken down before the construction of the new structures.

After hearing the proposal for the two signs by Mr. McCalister of First State Signs and the concerns of property owners in the area, the City of Milford Planning Commission took a vote on the decision to approve the property for conditional use for the purpose of two billboard signs. Commissioner George Pillia made a motion to approve the conditional use which was seconded by Commissioner Jamie Burke. The vote to approve the motion was unanimous with a repeated mention by each Commissioner that the construction of the billboard signs met the requirements set forth by the City of Milford Municipal Code.

The decision made by the Planning Commission will be brought to Milford City Council on Monday, February 27 and must be approved by Council before any construction of the two signs can move forward. If the resolution is approved by City Council in February the construction of the signs could begin as early as March.

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