Broadkill River takes center stage in Milton

Comprehensive plan meeting hears about sea level rise, flooding
August 8, 2014

The Broadkill River is central to the core values of Milton, but the same waterway that draws people to Milton also causes havoc when it overflows.

That was the dynamic discussed when Milton Planning & Zoning Commission met July 28 for a Comprehensive Plan Review/Update.

Commissioner Barry Goodinson explained the meeting would be less interactive than past meetings, but still just as valuable.

“We are trying to balance the comprehensive plan process with a lot of dreaming, but also a lot of data,” he said, to ensure the plan is based on sound science.

Goodinson said the river would continue to be a topic as the comprehensive plan meetings continue. “The river came up as part of the core values of this town, and it’s very clear that the river is the physical and emotional sector of this town,” he said. “The plan will reflect that, and the core values that are set forth will place the river front and center.

Goodlinson said, "We can’t talk about downtown Milton without talking about the river that both draws people to downtown but also sends businesses running when the river overflows at the bank.”

Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Planner IV Susan Love was on hand to discuss sea level rise, climate change, and other factors that impact the entire state of Delaware.

“As we move into the future, climate change is going to make some of your flooding issues worse, and they need to be addressed and thought about now,” she said. “Nuisance flooding has increased 304 percent since the 1950s."

She encouraged planners to take increased flooding into consideration as they envision the town's future.

“In addition to Delaware sinking, water is rising, and we are also having more water coming from the skies. These are all things that we can deal with, but we are going to have to make some good choices,” she said. “What we want to do is encourage good planning, comprehensive planning to really look at these issues.”

Love ended her presentation with tips and ideas for Milton going forward.

“Four things you can do: protect your land surface; retreat and move away from floodplain areas; accommodate the flooding by building buildings higher, raise roads and land up out of floodplain; and avoidance – by understanding the flooding issues and where the flooding may occur in the future, you can avoid making major investments and thereby reduce your risk.”

Next up:  Historic district

The next meeting on the comprehensive plan, at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 13, will focus on the historic district, which has helped preserve the character of the town by protecting several architectural assets.

The current boundaries of the historic district and an inventory of architectural assets will be discussed to determine whether changes or expansions to the district should be made. This meeting will also focus on developing guidelines for design to preserve and enhance the community’s unique character.

Public participation is encouraged.

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