On Monday, May 22, Milford City Council approved a zoning change request for Perdue Farms. The request was to rezone a 13.87 parcel of land known as the Tatman Farm from residential to industrial.
“The farm is adjacent to the poultry processing plant located on Rehoboth Boulevard,” City Planner Rob Pierce said. “The Comprehensive Plan currently shows this property as commercial so the residential zoning is not in compliance with the plan as of now. On Tuesday, May 16, the Planning Commission voted seven to zero to approve the request.”
Dean Walston, Director of Operations for Perdue, spoke to council about the company’s plans for the property, stating that the company did not intend to build on the property at this time.
“We have several goals in mind for this plant,” Mr.Walston said. “Currently, we have a significant number of trucks that can only access our plant from Rehoboth Boulevard. By purchasing this property, we are able to move that truck traffic away from Rehoboth Boulevard. We are currently in preliminary talks with DelDOT to allow us access to Route 1 utilizing this parcel of land to bring our trucks into the plant. This zoning change will allow us to perform some needed storm water upgrades as well. Right now, we have enough parking for our associates and our trucks with very little excess parking. The zoning change will allow us to upgrade our parking areas and provide ample parking for our associates, trucks and any visitors we may have to our Milford plant.”
Mr. Walston explained that Perdue was in the process of submitting site plans for the Milford site for a 15,000-square foot structure on the Perdue property but that the plan would not affect the Tatman Farm.
“The new building is in preparation for a pilot program being implemented at the Milford location by Perdue,” Mr. Walston said. “This will be a $19 million expansion if all goes as planned and we are very excited that Milford was chosen for the expansion. We hope to be able to release further details very soon.” Mr. Walston explained that Perdue works to remain a good neighbor and understands that the plant is close to several residential areas.
Councilman Owen Brooks told Mr. Walston that Perdue was an excellent neighbor, pointing out that he had a constituent complaint that he referred to Mr. Walston. The issue was corrected quickly, according to Councilman Brooks. Mr. Walston said that in the ten years he has been at the Milford location, two complaints have been reported to him by Council members, both of which were handled immediately to the satisfaction of Council and the person who complained.
When asked by City Solicitor David Rutt if the land would be used for poultry processing, Mr. Walston explained that here were currently no plans to use the property for that purpose. Mr. Walston said that as the plant was configured now, the Tatman Farm would not be suitable for poultry processing from an operations perspective.
“I think this is a feasible plan,” Councilwoman Lisa Peel said during the roll call vote. “I think it is a great idea to make these adjustments to remove some of the truck traffic from Rehoboth Boulevard.” The zoning change passed with a vote of five to zero with Councilman Doug Morrow abstaining.
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