Developer unveils plans for mixed-use Federal Street project

November 26, 2021

A Virginia-based developer has unveiled plans for a mixed-use development on a 1-acre parcel on Federal Street in Milton.

RJL Associates presented Milton Planning and Zoning Commission with a concept review Nov. 16 showing a three-story residential and commercial complex with 42 parking spaces on a vacant lot behind the Fox Hole restaurant at the corner of Federal and Union streets.

Engineer Doug Warner of Lewes-based Element Design Group said the plan is to have retail on the first floor with residential units on the second and third floors. Warner said the building would be around 5,500 square feet with access into the complex from Union Street.

Warner said there are wetlands in the rear of the property and the plan is to maintain a 50-foot buffer from them. 

He said while nothing is set in stone at this point, the idea is to have a restaurant on the first floor and six residential units each on the second and third floors, which would be for-sale apartments around 800 square feet with two bedrooms. 

The proposed building would be in the TC, town center zoning district, which covers the town’s central business area and allows for commercial and residential uses. Among the principal uses permitted by the town’s zoning code in the TC district are retail businesses and dwelling units above a first-floor business. 

Warner said the intention is to make the building fit with the existing architecture in the town’s historic district, using brick and glass with an overhang on the roofline, similar to the Milton library. He said he would also like to have views of the Broadkill River in the background. 

The presentation of the project was part of a concept review, in which the commission is able to provide feedback to an applicant before moving forward to the site-plan review process. While no vote was taken, commission members liked the plan for its development of a key area in the town’s center. There were questions regarding the building orientation and the parking, but overall, the project idea was well received.

Commissioner George Cardwell said, “That piece of property is almost like a hinge point for everything else around there. Being able to develop it and fill in the rest of it is very, very important.”

Chairman Richard Trask said, “I like the idea. That piece of property has been sitting like that for a very long time. I had the idea of the town buying it and putting a parking lot in, but this is a better idea.”

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