Milton board approves office park variances

June 14, 2024

The Milton Board of Adjustment, by a pair of 3-1 votes, approved two variances for a proposed office park near Cedar Creek Road and Mulberry Street Extended.

Applicant Route 16 Five Property LLC sought variances at the board’s May 28 meeting to permit parking in the front-yard setback on the Mulberry Street Extended side of the parcel and a variance to reduce the parking space separation to the right of way from 4 feet to 1 foot. Receiving approval for the two variances was a condition of preliminary site-plan approval for the project granted by the planning and zoning commission in March. 

The proposed office park would comprise 44 buildings with storage garages attached and a stormwater retention pond in the center. The park would be built on a 5-acre parcel adjacent to the Royal Farms planned for another 2-acre plot. Both projects are part of a greater 7-plus-acre parcel that was annexed into Milton in December 2020, then partitioned in July 2021. Planning and zoning officials approved a special-use permit and a preliminary site plan for Royal Farms in October 2021, and final site plans were approved by town council in June 2023. Actual construction has been delayed as the Delaware Department of Transportation reviews traffic plans for the site. 

The office park was always envisioned as part of the commercial complex at the site, which is zoned C-1 commercial and across the street from the Food Lion shopping center. But the delays in Royal Farms and traffic issues have slowed progress; those issues include a proposed entrance off Cedar Creek Road that would access both Royal Farms and the office park.

In a letter to Project Manager Tom Quass, Brandon Mace, site designer for the project, said the parking row adjacent to the Mulberry Street Extension right of way contains 28 of the required 79 parking spaces for the project. DelDOT has required additional right of way be dedicated in that area, shifting the front-yard setback 14 feet onto the site, which would force the developer to not meet the minimum parking requirements. Mace said removing these spaces would eliminate all the spaces provided for eight of the proposed office/storage buildings.

In addition, Mace said, shifting the parking spaces will force the removal of at least three buildings, and a proposed infiltration basin would be reduced to an insufficient size to provide adequate stormwater management. He said additional methods of stormwater management are not viable for this site due to geographical constraints. Mace added that DelDOT already required 15 feet of dedicated right of way at the Cedar Creek Road entrance.

Engineer Zac Crouch, representing Route 16 Five Property, said the applicant will construct a 6-foot privacy fence along the entire row of 28 spaces at the right-of-way line and will put in parking blocks to ensure vehicles do not overhang into the right of way.

The only no vote on the variances was from board member Robert Gray, who said he did not find unnecessary hardships on the part of the developer or see why not granting the variance would impair the purpose of the parcel’s zoning. He said all the board has to go on is the word of the developer’s representatives, with no other witness testimony. 

Chair Steve Crawford said the variances are warranted because the developer has an exceptional practical difficulty imposed on it by DelDOT. The majority of the board agreed with that sentiment and approved the variance requests. 


Subscribe to the Daily Newsletter