Council Approves Comprehensive Plan Adjustments

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DI1-DefaultBy Terry Rogers

On Monday, October 28, Milford City Council voted unanimously to make several adjustments to the Comprehensive Plan, a process that must be completed every five years. Several of the changes were minor and designed to correct zoning errors that occurred when properties were developed prior to current zoning regulations.

Bayhealth requested that several properties it had purchased in anticipation of their upcoming expansion, which were zoned residential, be changed to industrial use so that the updated Comprehensive Plan would reflect the actual usage of those properties. In addition, Dr. Masten and Dr. Mow, whose offices were built on Lakeview Avenue prior to current zoning, requested that their properties be designated as industrial as well. An area located on Old Shawnee Road, known as Brookstone Terrace, which is currently zoned as light residential, needed to be changed to moderate residential as well in order for the Comprehensive Plan to match the current usage of the property.

One change proposed, however, met with some resistance from the Office of State Planning. Land owned by the Lynch family, located at NE Front Street (Route 14) and Coastal Highway (Route 1), is currently zoned as open space. The family, who hopes to eventually develop the land after DelDOT completes an overpass in the area, requested that approximately 32 acres of the 96 they own at the location, be zoned as commercial.

“The Planning Commission recommended that City Council include the Lynch property in a Master Plan for the Northeast quadrant of the city, similar to what we did for the Southeast quadrant,” City Planner Gary Norris said. “This would include more than just the Lynch property, as there are approximately 100 properties that may be affected by a Master Plan in the area.” Councilman Owen Brooks asked if there would be notification to the other homeowners in the area, and City Solicitor David Rutt explained that there would need to be public hearings and many other steps taken before the zoning could take effect.

“We want to make it clear to council that nothing will happen on this property until DelDOT moves forward with the overpass,” explained Nicole Fairies, an attorney representing the Lynch family. “We are simply asking that the property be part of a Master Plan for future development in this area.” Mr. Norris explained that the Master Plan for this area of town would be much smaller than what had to be done in the southeast section of the city, and that creating a Master Plan would simply allow the city to plan for future development in the area.

City Council voted unanimously to change the zoning for the doctor’s offices, the hospital and Brookstone Terrace, as well as to include the Lynch property in the development of a Master Plan for the Northeast quadrant of Milford.

In other land use business at the council meeting, final approval was granted to the Wickersham subdivision, a project that includes approximately 200 townhomes planned for the corner of Johnson Road and Coastal Highway. City Manager Richard Carmean explained that this project was actually a benefit to the city, as the developers allowed for a new water tower to be installed in the development.