Planning & Zoning Deny Rt. 14 Development Plan

Local resident Noel Primos urging the Planning and Zoning Commission to deny the approval of the Preliminary Site Plan for Hickory Glen

A public hearing was held on Tuesday, April 17 to discuss an ordinance to approve a conditional use to allow a planned unit development to be known as Hickory Glen for Eric Dunn of Dunn Development, LLC on behalf of Walter N. Thomas II. The proposed development is to be constructed on 71.918 acres in a R-8 district located at 1335 Milford-Harrington Highway in Milford, DE.

On May 4, 2010 land owner Mr. Walter N. Thomas II sent a letter formally requesting the annexation of the property described as 1335 Milford-Harrington Highway by The City of Milford. At this time the 71.92 acre property was zoned AC (Agricultural Conservation) in Kent County. Mr. Thomas requested that the land be zoned as R-3 which is used for proposed medium- to high-density residential areas and would allow a maximum residential density of 16 units per acre.

After a review, the Planning Commission recommended the property be zoned as R-8 which was proposed to City Council on November 8, 2010. City Council voted to annex the Thomas property unanimously and voted to zone the property at the R-8 recommendation. Included in the annexation agreement between Walter N. Thomas II and the City of Milford, the City determined it was in their best interest to annex the property.

During Tuesday nights hearing Mr. Phil Tolliver, on behalf of the Hickory Glen subdivision, presented an updated Preliminary Site Plan that had not been previously seen by the Planning and Zoning Commission. The new site plan includes 128 townhouses, 312 apartments and the addition of an assisted living facility which would host 114 beds. While decreasing the number of apartment units in the overall plan the number of apartments per building increased from 12 to 24 units, which is allowed under a Planned Unit Development (PUD) provision in the Milford City Charter.
“Our plan has increased open space, decreased density and will decrease the expected traffic on Route 14.,” stated Mr. Tolliver.

Following Mr. Tolliver’s presentation of the preliminary site plan, Chairman Rini opened the meeting up to public comment. Several residents of the immediate area gave testimony regarding their concerns over the construction of the subdivision and predicted increase of traffic on Route 14.

“In the neighborhood we are really concerned with the high density that this new subdivision will bring,” commented Bob Southard, a Milford resident who lives on Route 14. “I think by changing the request to a PUD applicationMr. Tolliver is actually asking for more units.”
Local resident Noel Primos also shared his concerns over accepting the newly introduced assisted living facility.

“I would like to emphasis that the assisted living facility seems to be very vague,” commented Mr. Primos. “The Planning Commission is put into an awkward position to have to make a decision without knowing all the details.”

After hearing the preliminary site plan for Hickory Glen and the concerns from local residents, Chairman Rini closed the public comment segment of the meeting as the Commission deliberated on whether to accept the plan. Commissioner George Pilla made a motion to accept the conditional use for 128 lots and 440 units on the property without the inclusion of the assisted living facility. The motion was accepted by the Commission in a 7-1 vote. A second motion was made by Comissioner William Lane and accepted to deny the preliminary site plan for Hickory Glen, which included the assisted living facility.

The conditional use recommendation will be presented to City Council for an official vote. Representatives for Hickory Glen will have to propose a new preliminary site plan to the Planning and Zoning Commission before it can be heard before City Council.