Milton Town Council, by a 6-1 vote, approved a partitioning request on a 7.86-acre lot off Route 16, where a future Royal Farms is planned.
The July 12 partitioning divides the parcel into two lots, one to be sold to Royal Farms for development, the other to eventually be developed into an office/storage facility.
Royal Farms will present a concept plan for the gas station and convenience store at the Milton Planning and Zoning Commission’s meeting set for 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, July 20, at Milton library.
Following review of the concept plan, the next step will be to begin the site-plan review process, which will formally start Monday, Aug. 2, when town council will vote to send the project to planning and zoning for review. Royal Farms would need to get preliminary site-plan approval and then final site-plan approval before beginning construction. While the process varies, Royal Farms officials have said they plan to begin construction later this year.
At town council’s July 12 meeting, residents expressed concerns about what a new Royal Farms would mean for Milton.
Margaret Tobin, a resident of Marshall Street, said, “In the 71 years since I first came to Milton, I’ve seen a lot of changes. Some positive, some not so. I love this town. I think what we’re doing is we’re pricing people out. We have Quick Stop, Bodie’s. You put a Royal Farms there, they will both go out of business. Those are businesses in town, run by local people. We have to choose what we treasure and what we can afford to lose.”
Allison Ash, a resident of Union Street Extended, said while Royal Farms has been good about reaching out to her and explaining the plans, she would have liked to have seen the partitioning proportioned a bit differently to change the location of the entrance, because as it is currently depicted, the lights from cars would shine into her windows.
The land for the new Royal Farms, owned by Route 16/5 LLC, was annexed into town in December and is zoned C-1 commercial. James Taylor, an engineer with Duffield Associates in Bear, said the Royal Farms lot will be 2.5 acres and the other lot will be 5.18 acres. He said the access point to the two parcels will be off Cedar Creek Road, and a traffic study with the Delaware Department of Transportation is forthcoming. Taylor said they are working with Ash to alleviate her concerns over the entrance.
Councilman Sam Garde was the only no vote, saying Route 16/5 made a promise to Ash to put the entrance in a different location, but is now seemingly breaking that promise. Taylor reiterated that they are working with Ash to resolve the problem, but Garde was upset enough about a promise being broken that he voted no.