Lot calculation in Milton developments changed

Town follows Sussex County ordinance on density
April 25, 2019

Milton Town Council unanimously approved an ordinance that would exclude acreage serving as buffers from calculations of density in all zoning districts.

Town Solicitor Seth Thompson said the town’s new calculation for the number of permitted units excludes lands designated as a buffer from water bodies such as streams, ponds, lakes or rivers.

The ordinance was modeled on a similar one enacted in December by Sussex County Council. Under that ordinance, developers cannot count state wetlands when calculating total density in a subdivision. Under previous county regulations, density – or the total number of units – was calculated using the total parcel acreage, even though state wetlands cannot be built on.

Thompson said the planning and zoning commission, in its advisory report on the ordinance, recommended also excluding public or private rights-of-way. Councilman Sam Garde questioned that recommendation; Thompson said the idea is that rights-of-way or easements are often controlled by entities other than the property owner and should not count toward the owner’s density calculations.

That was good enough for Garde, who agreed to add rights-of-way to the exclusions in the ordinance and voted in favor.