Milton election set for March 2

Three candidates seeking two council seats
February 22, 2024

Milton voters will go to the polls starting at 8 a.m., Saturday, March 2, to select from three candidates for two town council seats.

The race is between incumbents Fred Harvey and Lee Revis-Plank, and challenger Erin Willis, a member of Milton’s Parks and Recreation Committee. The winning candidates will serve three-year terms. Each candidate was asked three questions. The candidates’ answers are listed in alphabetical order.

Meet the candidates

Harvey is a lifetime resident of Milton. He was appointed to town council in April 2022 to fill out the remaining term of John Collier, who was elected mayor. He has served as chair of the water committee and as a member of the board of appeals.

Revis-Plank, 75, is the town’s vice mayor. She is seeking her second consecutive term on council. She has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Delaware, and has lived in Milton for 10 years. She spent her professional career in training and leadership development working for both DuPont and Bank of America before retiring in 2013. 

Willis, 41, is a mother of two, a 10- and 5-year-old. She grew up in Dover, went to Ohio for college, and earned a master's degree from LaSalle University in Philadelphia in 2009. To be closer to their families, Willis and her husband relocated in 2015 for Milton’s small-town ambiance, remarkable walkability and irresistible charm. She is a speech-language pathologist for the Cape Henlopen School District and the Sussex Consortium. She has worked with humanitarian aid organizations to provide basic needs for people crossing borders and in 2018 collaborated with former Sen. Ernie Lopez and others to successfully pass legislation ensuring that professionals in the public sector receive equitable compensation.

• Growth has been a major topic of discussion in Milton. What do you think is the best way for Milton to prepare for the amount of growth that is coming both in the near future and in the years to come? 

Harvey: In order for Milton to prepare itself for the future growth, we need to have many discussions and make plans, and then implement some of these ideas.

Revis-Plank: The best way to prepare for the growth is to be consistent and thorough in vetting the developer and the plans for any new growth proposal. Does the proposal align to the town’s comprehensive plan? After working with the town’s project supervisor to prepare documentation, the Special Review Committee is the next step in determining if the proposal will benefit the town. The SRC has a well-established process to ensure that the town’s infrastructure and service providers can absorb this volume of proposed homes. Then SRC does a cost-benefit analysis. If it is favorable, the proposal is sent to council for review. It makes suggestions for the developer to make on the plans and, if council agrees with the SRC, it refers the project to the planning & zoning commission. P&Z reviews the project three times before a final project plan is sent back to council for a final approval. If appropriate, the Historic Preservation Commission has the opportunity to review. The public has several opportunities to attend public meetings to comment on and listen to reviews. This process is thorough and consistent. It can be paused or stopped at any point to allow the developer time to meet criteria set for approval along the way.

Willis: We are fortunate to live in a community that’s growing, and the best way to preserve the charm and uniqueness of our town is to be actively engaged. Town council should always work to oppose development that is not in keeping with the town’s character or values when that development falls within council’s influence or power. However, we cannot afford to pretend that we can oppose all development or that we can influence or make decisions beyond town council’s control. We must guide that development and exercise appropriate regulatory authority. I was happy to see that the recent referendums passed both because they showed Milton residents’ desire to plan for the future in terms of infrastructure, and also to welcome new neighbors by allowing them a voice in town matters and to share the burden of infrastructure and services. I understand my neighbors’ concerns over the annexation approval, and while development in that location is not ideal for many reasons, approval of the annexation is the best possible outcome. Sustainability and equity are vital to our town’s future. To that end, it is imperative that town council view all decisions with an eye on the future and growth in mind. 

• There has been much discussion of improving the town’s transportation infrastructure, both for vehicles and pedestrians. What are some ideas you would like to see pursued toward that end?

Harvey: We have streets that need to be repaired and resurfaced. We also have flooded streets in which we need to have discussions with the state for immediate attention.

Revis-Plank: We have already done a good bit of work on transportation. With Councilwoman Randi Meredith’s leadership, we have amended town code to ensure sidewalks are not waived unless there is a documented hardship preventing one. We have lowered speed limits on all the side streets of the town to 15 mph. We’ve approved redesigns of two large intersections. My preference would be to shift focus going forward to working with DelDOT and Sussex County to develop a transportation improvement district so that main thoroughfares in and through Milton are included and are taken into consideration at that level when new developments are proposed. We may find that we can develop an alternative route for large vehicles that will avoid Union, Federal and Mulberry streets altogether. 

Willis: I would love to see Milton’s rail to trail incorporated in our surrounding area. My family and I prefer to walk, bike, scooter or one-wheel around Milton, and have seen firsthand the benefits and dangers of doing so. I believe making Milton more walkable and bikeable as well as providing safe and efficient vehicle roadways is vital to the future safety of our town, citizens and visitors. Crosswalks, increased signage, continuous sidewalks and curb extensions are among the many proven methods that provide safety for those in and out of vehicles. 

• One idea that has been bandied about recently is having a parking meter system downtown. Do you support this idea? Why or why not?

Harvey: Yes, I support a meter parking system downtown if it is feasible. This would also be revenue for the town.

Revis-Plank: I support metered parking for high-value parking spots in principle. In order for businesses within the town center to continue to thrive, it is necessary for the town to do due diligence to ensure that every parking-related action possible is identified and implemented in an efficient and cost-effective manner to ensure that there is adequate, convenient, reasonably priced parking available to serve the residents, visitors and local business owners. Given that there is limited property available for parking, that the town has a finite financial standing, that there are often concurrent activities scheduled that require attendees to park when they cannot walk from home, and that town center businesses suffer as a result of patrons who are unable to find convenient parking, the metered parking option, with appropriate zones, cost per hour and enforcement would yield a positive result.

Willis: I love that so many people want to visit and explore our downtown area. While talking with business owners, I came to realize that parking meters, when appropriately placed – for example, only on the street and not in our lot – would allow visitors and residents to access businesses without prohibiting use. Additionally, handicap-accessible spots or drop-off points – for example, in front of the library – would allow our town to be safely enjoyed by all.


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