Planning Commission Approves Changes to Comprehensive Plan

DI1-DefaultBy Terry Rogers

On Tuesday, October 15, the City of Milford Planning Commission discussed several proposed changes to the Comprehensive Plan, including a request from the Lynch family to change portions of land they own on Coastal Highway (Route 1) to be changed from open space to commercial. Other items discussed by the committee were designed to unify zoning in some areas of the city.

“The Lynch family wants a portion of their property included in the Comprehensive Plan as commercial,” explained James Burk, Chairman of the Planning Commission. “Currently, there are 32 acres zoned as wetlands and 26 acres that will be used by DelDOT when they complete the Woods Haven overpass. That leaves 38 acres that the applicant is requesting be zoned as C-3 in the Comprehensive Plan.” A public hearing was held regarding the change to the Comprehensive Plan on Tuesday, September 17, 2013.

“At the public hearing, Connie Holland with the State of Delaware told us we had three options,” said Gary Norris, City Planner. “We can vote to leave it alone and keep it zoned open space. We can do nothing now and consider the request in 2018 when we have more details about the overpass proposed in that area. We can amend the plan so that the land is future commercial with the anticipation of creating a master plan for that area.” In order to develop a master plan, property owners must be notified in the area, several public hearings held and significant discussion and input from both governmental bodies as well as citizens of the city.

“If we do that, it will not simply be for the Lynch property, but we estimate it could be 50,000 acres or more,” Mr. Norris said. “It would probably include Woods Haven, New Wharf Road and other areas.” The commission voted unanimously to include the request for consideration only in the development of a Master Plan for the northeast quadrant of the city.

“I feel more confident doing this as part of a Master Plan,” said Commissioner Rae Mims when the commission was polled after the vote. Commissioner William Lane agreed and said that this would also not place any stipulations on the property.

The Planning Commission also voted unanimously to approve a request from Dr. Mast and Dr Mow to change the zoning for their locations from residential to employment. The offices were built prior to the zoning ordinance, and, according to Gary Norris, the change was what was known as “fill-in” to correct zoning errors discovered after ordinances are passed. The commission also voted unanimously to redesignate residential area near Milford Memorial Hospital as institutional to accommodate the hospital’s proposed expansion.

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