Planning Commission Holds Public Hearings

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By Terry Rogers

On Tuesday, July 16, the City of Milford Planning Commission held two public hearings related to projects planned for the city. One was for a conditional use and minor subdivision request from Matthew and Jennifer Feindt, located at 303 Pierce Street and the second was for a final site plan approval for Perdue, located on Rehoboth Boulevard.

The Feindt family want to build a duplex on the lot located on Pierce Street, and, on May 20, the Planning Commission approved a set-back and lot size variance pending approval by the Board of Adjustments. On Thursday, May 22, the Board of Adjustments held a public hearing on the project, where it was discovered that an additional variance was necessary for Northeast Front Street. The Board of Adjustments approved the setback from Pierce Street and the lot area, as well as the variance for Front Street, pending approval by the Planning Commission for the second set-back variance.

At the most recent public hearing in front of the Planning Commission, Scott Adkisson of Davis, Bowen & Friedel, the engineering firm that reviewed the plans for the city, explained that this request was for an additional set-back variance from Front Street and that the surveyor, Bob Nash, had revised the site plan based on Mr. Adkisson’s original comments. However, upon further review, Mr. Adkisson discovered two other items that would need to be addressed.

“On the smaller lot, the lot width at the front of the building is less than the 40 feet required by code,” Mr. Adkisson said. “However, the bigger problem is that the lot exceeds the code requirement of less than 30 percent lot coverage. The code does not specifically designate what lot coverage means, but in my experience it is the same as impervious areas.” Mr. Adkisson explained that these issues would need to be addressed in addition to the set-back from Front Street.

Mr. Nash, the surveyor for the property, said that he was of the understanding that the code allowed for 50 percent lot coverage, but that when Mr. Adkisson presented him with a copy of the code, realized that the requirement was 30 percent or less. Mr. Nash also explained that the lot width in question was less than one inch under the 40 feet required.

“When we figured the lot coverage, we included everything, even the driveway,” Mr. Nash explained when asked whether this was all surfaces, including driveways. “The drive will be crushed stone, not paved, but I do think that still makes it an impervious area under the law because it could be paved at a later date.”

As for the initial request regarding the 17.5-foot variance necessary from Front Street, Mr. Nash said that the house across the street was much closer to the road than 17.5 feet, so this duplex would fit into the neighborhood even with the variance. Commissioner Archie Campbell asked if allowing these variances would set a precedent and City Solicitor, David Rutt, explained that it would not since the Board of Adjustments gave conditional approval for the set-back from Front Street. However, the board did not address the coverage or lot line problems. The Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve the Front Street set-back variance, as well as the lot line and coverage issues. The second two items must now be referred to the Board of Adjustments for approval.

The second hearing was related to a final site plan presented by Perdue for a live holding chiller and refrigeration unit to be placed on their Rehoboth Boulevard property. Debbie Pfeil, engineer for URS Corporation, said that she had made several recommendations regarding the plans, and all of those recommendations had been implemented.

“There are no parking requirements and the entrance has been approved by DELDOT,” Ms. Pfeil explained. “In addition, approvals from DNREC, Kent County Conservation and other agencies have signed off on the plan. It has been approved by the Board of Adjustments.”

John Shahan with AWB Engineers explained that the chiller edition was not completed, but that there were no anticipated changes in those plans. Ms. Pfeil explained that if there were any changes to the chiller plan, the applicant would be required to return to the Planning Commission for approval. The commission approved the site plan unanimously.