by Terry Rogers
On Monday, October 22, Milford City Council held public hearings for several conditional uses and final minor subdivision approvals. All changes were approved by Council with a vote of 6 to 0 as Councilmen Christopher Mergner and James Starling, Jr. were not present.
Mispillion Realty requested a conditional use for property they owned along Route 113 just south of Redners. Jamie Masten requested the conditional use in order to install a billboard on the property.
“The property is under contract contingent on this condition,” Masten said. “We will be coming back with a formal plan to subdivide the property into two pad sites for retail or other commercial property in the near future. Until then, we would like to add a billboard, similar to those that are near Grotto’s on Route 1. This is a great way for local businesses to reach customers. If you think about riding in your car today, you are probably listening to an audio book or XM Radio with limited or no commercials. That means advertising is not reaching your customer base in the car. A billboard has 20,000 to 25,000 customers riding by each day. There is a need for it and it is a benefit to local businesses.”
The Planning Commission approved the request with a recommendation that the billboard be set back 30 feet. Masten pointed out that the Commission requested the specific setback from the side boundary and not the front as a 30-foot setback on the front of the property would place the billboard too far from the road for travelers to see it. Councilman Todd Culotta commented that the setback required by the state was only 25 feet and saw no reason to add the extra five feet. The billboards on Route 1 have a 25-foot setback and Councilwoman Katrina Wilson felt that keeping the setback at 25 feet would provide consistency throughout the town for billboard placement.
Bayhealth requested the approval of a final major subdivision for the new campus on Wilkins Road. The request was to divide the land into two lots with the new hospital campus on one lot and the other lot used as leased property.
“We want to separate the hospital from the medical arts section,” Steve Fortunato of Becker-Morgan Group, engineer for the project, said. “It is easier to lease land not owned by the hospital. Eight acres will be the proposed Nemours project and that is the only leased portion to date, but we expect to have more land leased in the near future.” During the roll call vote, Councilwoman Lisa Peel commented that this was a reasonable request and that it met City code.
The final minor subdivision approved by City Council was for lands owned by Lynn and Karen McColley. The McColley’s and Blue Hen Ventures, LLC, were requesting approval to subdivide four parcels along Silicato Way as commercial property. The land is located behind Sunnybrae Mansion which is owned by the McColley’s.
“This layout is somewhat dictated by some interest in the property,” Mark Davidson of Pennoni Associates, said. “We had to arrange the entrances to match those that already exist for Royal Farms and Grottos as they are already there. There are some lands that are already part of the new overpass being installed by DelDOT. There are no objections from DelDOT for this project as well.” All Council members who voted felt that this subdivision would be an asset to that area.
McColley, who did not speak at the hearing, is not sure at this time what will be placed on the commercial lots.
“Eventually, it all will be commercial,” McColley said. “But, exactly what, we really don’t have it nailed down. We’re putting the word out there and just going to kind of see what happens. This was the first step for what we needed to do to start getting the word out that we had some commercial property available, so we are going from there.”
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