by Terry Rogers
On Tuesday, October 15, Milford Planning and Zoning Commission recommended that City Council approve a zoning change from Office Complex 1 to Highway Commercial for a parcel of land at the intersection of Seabury Avenue and South Dupont Highway. The owner of the property, BSG III, has submitted plans to the City for a convenience store with gas pumps.
“Planning and Zoning recommended approval to City Council with a vote of 4-0,” City Planner Rob Pierce said. “Site plans are being reviewed by the city but have not been placed on an agenda for conditional use or preliminary site plan review. The convenience store with gas pumps will require a public hearing for a conditional use with both the Planning Commission and City Council.”
According to information provided to the Planning Commission, the change of zone is consistent with the 2018 Comprehensive Plan Future Land Use maps. The Comprehensive Plan states Highway Commercial zones should be located along major transportation routes, including DE 1, US 113, Route 14 and Business 1. The C-3 category, which is what the new zone would be for the property provides for larger-scale commercial uses that may require additional parking spaces or have a high traffic impact.
“The property to the north is zoned C-3 and contains a one-story medical office building,” Pierce said. “The properties to the east are zoned OC-1 and contain a single-family dwelling converted into a professional office and medical office complex. Properties to the south, across Seabury Avenue, are zoned R-1 or single-family residential, and contain single-family dwellings. The proposed convenience store would require approval as a conditional use under a separate public hearing.”
Although the convenience store and gas pump site plans have not been presented to the Planning Commission or City Council and are still undergoing staff review, residents are expressing concerns about the proposed use. The corner has been used as a bus stop for many years with students aged 5 through 17 waiting at that location. If the entrance to the convenience store is located across from Cherry Street, there is concern that it will be unsafe for children to wait for the bus.
Other concerns expressed include higher-than-normal traffic on roads that already have a history of drivers who ignore speed limits. Milford Police Department has placed a digital speed warning sign on Seabury Avenue in order to remind drivers of their speed. Residents feel that it may be too dangerous for children to bike or walk on both Cherry Street and Seabury Avenue. In addition, a large development is under construction nearby with one exit proposed for the opposite end of Cherry Street. Many who live in the area say that the new development combined with a 24-hour convenience store will increase traffic on a small, side street significantly, making it unsafe.
Pierce explained that the Planning Commission has not approved any use for the property at this time and has only recommended to Council that the zoning be changed from Office Complex to Highway Commercial. Any preliminary use, including site plans, will come before the Commission at a later date once staff has reviewed the request. Milford City Council will hold a public hearing and make a final decision on the zone change only on Monday, October 28 at their regular meeting.
Sign up for you free digital subscription of The Weekly Review, delivered directly to your email every Tuesday morning. A quick cover-to-cover read to catch up on the news of the week and experience great stories about our local communities. Sign up for your free email subscription below.