Granary annexation a smart move for Milton
Milton Town Council unanimously voted March 7 to approve an annexation of 450 acres on Sand Hill Road. The plan is to develop the land into a 1,350-unit community called The Granary at Draper Farm.
Council did not make the annexation effective immediately, instead allowing a 30-day period for residents to collect enough signatures to petition for a referendum, as required by the town’s charter. We hope residents don’t pursue a referendum.
The cold, hard fact is that this development will be built, one way or another. If citizens are successful in forcing a referendum and a majority of residents votes against annexation, the developer will more than likely take the project to Sussex County for approval.
It’s happened before. In Lewes, the developer of two major subdivisions – Harbor Point and Showfield – withdrew applications under review by the city, resubmitted them to Sussex County, and gained swift approval from its planning & zoning commission within months. We hope Milton does not let this opportunity slip away.
If projects recently proposed or approved by Sussex County are any indication, the result could be undesirable for nearby residents. By approving annexation, town officials have greater control over what happens on that very large piece of land. By approving annexation, Milton is guaranteed an influx of revenue through taxes.
In a recent letter to the editor, a resident raised concerns about the impact of such a large community. Issues included possible loss of Milton’s small-town character, and future needs for a larger town hall, police station and maintenance facility.
Like it or not, the Granary is coming. As long as it meets the minimum requirements of zoning and code, it cannot be denied. Milton should reap the monetary benefits while still holding some control over how the parcel is developed, which is planned over a 20-year period – hardly an overnight project.