City extends water service outside of limits

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This lot will be the home of a new Nuevo Amanecer Spanish Church of God.

Milford City Council approved a request from Nuevo Amanecer Spanish Church of God to extend water service outside of city limits. The church is currently designing a 300-seat building on Rehoboth Boulevard across from Horseshoe Drive.

“The city has received a request for water service to a property outside of the city limits and staff is seeking guidance from council. Pennoni Associates on behalf of Nuevo Church are requesting water service connection to the 10-inch water main located on South Rehoboth Boulevard for the proposed church’s fire suppression system. Drinking water and sewer is not currently available in the area and an on-site septic system will need to be installed,” Willis Shafer, Director of Public Works, said. “If council approves water connection, the city will require the property owner to sign a utility agreement to require the property to annex into the city if and when the property becomes contiguous to city limits.”

Councilman Jason James pointed out that such a request was recently denied for a parcel on Route 113, questioning when this land could become contiguous. He was also concerned with the cost to the city to install the infrastructure necessary to allow the church to gain access to the water system. Mayor Todd Culotta believed that the property was just across from the Southern Delaware Golf Course, so it was possible it would be annexed sooner rather than later. City Solicitor David Rutt pointed out that the property was farther south.

“So the one thing about this situation is that 10-inch water lines are out there. Okay, so them getting a stem off of it into their property is relatively low cost, which they have jumped to get to anyway,” Mayor Culotta said. And the stickler put in is they need to have a sprinkler system and the church has to by state law and probably a four or five inch water line. So this is why they need it.”

City Manager Mark Whitfield stated that with previous requests, it would require the city to extend infrastructure. In this case, the infrastructure was already in place.

“There is a 10-inch water line directly across the road. We’re approximately three properties away from being contiguous and more importantly, in your future land use map, we’re in your annexation area and because we’re in your annexation area we’d have to come to the city of Milford anyway,” Mark Davidson of Pennoni Associates said. “The church that we’re designing is for a 300 seat church. They’re currently located on South Washington Street here in the city of Milford, the building lease is up at the end of the year. We’re currently seeking all the approvals to begin construction. They’re going to try to renegotiate a lease, allow for a few more months to be able to get under construction. One of the things that we did design, we had started to design, was an on-site water tank, be able to for them to have a sprinkler system inside. It’s approximately about a 26,000 gallon on-site water tank that would have been sticking above the ground and would have been sitting either to the side of the building or in back.”

Davidson continued.

“This is a residential neighborhood. In Sussex County and, I think, in the City of Milford, churches are allowed on residential properties as a permitted use. We didn’t think an above ground water tank was going to look good. It doesn’t matter what color you painted or how you dress it up,” Davidson said. “So we asked the city if maybe willing to provide us with water and in our agreement will abandon the on-site waste system, the septic system will tie into your sanitary sewer when we become contiguous whether it’s across the road or just from the back. There’s one property along Rehoboth Boulevard that has three properties if they’ve come contiguous. We’ll come in and ask for annexation into the city. We have no problems doing that. At this time, we’ll pay for connection line under Rehoboth Boulevard. We’ll pay for all that. will follow all your guidelines for conditions and impact fees and everything else will be paid for a time of connection or prior to connection to the city.”

Councilman James stated that his questions had been answered.

“I think the main point for my question and I’m saying this for public is that we’re very we’re very careful about spending city money for connection for any particular purpose because it’s taxpayer money,” Councilman James said. “So, we have to know why it is being spent but if the connection is already there, and all the expense to connect is the landowner and developer, my questions are answered.”

Councilman Dan Marabello asked if there would need to be special metering since the property would not need sewer services.

“No, we have a number of locations throughout town where we supply water and there’s no sewer and we also have the reverse,” Whitfield said. “We have some people on wells and they’re on public sewer. So, we do it both ways. We have a meter on each one and our finance takes care of deciphering who gets billed for what.”

Mayor Culotta agreed with Councilman James’ point.

“Jason makes a good point because one of the benefits of annexing into the city is access to water and sewer. Right. That’s one of the things that without that there’s not a lot of benefit to annexing it because you kind of have access to everything anyway,” Mayor Culotta said. “But in this situation, this is their sprinkler system is what’s causing that thing and I have a lot experience. I just finished the building downtown it cost me $40,000 to do the same connection. So, I don’t see this as a problem.”

Council approved the request unanimously with the condition that should the land become contiguous with other city properties, the church would be required to request annexation into the city.

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