Council grants second extension for Westwood development

Terry RogersBusiness, Government, Headlines, Milford Headline Story

Artist rendering of Westwood development on Williamsville Road

At a recent meeting, Milford City Council granted a second, one-year extension for final approval. The extension was needed after Kent County Conservation District requested a third-party engineer to review the plans.

“This is a proposed development located off Williamsville Road, just west of the railroad easement on Milford-Harrington Highway,” City Planner, Rob Pierce, said. “The applicant proposed to construct 340 units with 182 single family detached dwellings and 158 single family semi-detached dwellings. The only thing the applicant is waiting for is approval from Kent County Conservation District for stormwater design.”

Alan Decktor, a professional engineer with Pennoni Associates and project manager for the development, explained that the initial delay was due to a seven month wait for the wetlands permit which they received in the fall.

“In December, Kent Conservation District asked for a third-party engineer,” Decktor said. “This is definitely a very complicated stormwater design. There are 13 ponds, a combination of infiltration and dry facilities along with existing ditches cutting through the property. It’s very complicated and complex which is why we were asked to get a third-party review. We did that over the last four months and submitted it to them for approval.”

Decktor explains that once they have the conservation district’s approval, they were ready to submit for final approval.

“We’re basically at the finish line,” Decktor said. “And we are asking for this extension request to hopefully finalize the final approval and go to construction later this year.”

Councilman Dan Marabello pointed out that the current approval expired April 24, asking why there was a delay in requesting the extension. Decktor explained that they felt they were so close to finalizing the project, they would make the deadline and then the date simply slipped past them.

“I have a question, Rob. my question is, like you mentioned, they’re waiting on one more thing to or at least recently received it and now it’s going to go on an agenda,” Councilman Jason James said. “Didn’t we change our ordinance? That once all of the preliminary approval was satisfied and it was just approved, just waiting for other agencies and everything was substantially complete, and nothing changed that these things could be approved administratively and would not have to come back through to council.”

Pierce explained that Councilman James was correct, but that this development began the approval process prior to the change of the ordinance which meant they were subject to the rules and regulations that were in place when they made their initial application. Moving forward, all subdivision final approvals would be handled administratively unless there were significant changes between the preliminary and final plans.

“Okay, so I guess what you’re telling me, and I do hear you, that anything that was already in process prior to the change of the ordinance through the old process, which, to me kind of seems contrary to the spirit of what we were trying to do with this. We’re trying to move things forward without having to go through this,” Councilman James said. “And I understand the timeline. But I would think, or I would like for someone to look, and maybe there isn’t, but is there something that can prevent us from having to look at something that we were trying not to look at again. That is my point.”

Mayor Todd Culotta questioned whether the extension would expire a year from the original request, wondering if a year was long enough for something this complicated.

“I believe the ordinance was amended as well to allow a two year period between the preliminary and final. They had their one year extension last year and this would be the second year anyway,” Pierce said. “But you know, council did grant that one year extension last year as well. But yeah, so this would be the last subdivision that had started under the old ordinance. So, I don’t have any other ones that are in the works that would be subject to public hearing for final major subdivision.”

Councilman Marabello asked if the extension would expire as of May 29, the date council voted or would expire April 24 which was the original expiration date. Pierce stated it would be one year from May 29. City Solicitor David Rutt confirmed that it would be a maximum of one year from the date the extension was approved.

The request passed by a vote of 7 to 0 as Councilman Michael Stewart was not present at the meeting.




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