Milton eyes establishing transportation improvement district

Proposal would tie development to traffic infrastructure
April 17, 2019

Milton Town Council is considering establishing a transportation development district to mitigate the impact of development on traffic flow. Council appears set to pass a resolution - a date has not been set - that would begin the process. The goal is to tie land-use decisions with transportation improvements.

Delaware Department of Transportation Principal Planner Sara Coakley said at town council’s March 4 meeting that DelDOT and the municipality first agree on the location of a district and the municipality develops a land-use plan that includes needed transportation infrastructure improvements.

Coakley said within these districts, developers would pay an upfront, predetermined fee - determined by DelDOT and the municipality - instead of undertaking a traffic-impact study process. With a traffic-impact study, Coakley said developers are on the hook to pay for improvements to mitigate traffic, but the process is typically piecemeal.

Transportation development districts have already been established in Westown in Middletown and southern New Castle County, and DelDOT officials have been working with officials in Lewes, Dover and Milford to establish districts in those cities. Mayor Ted Kanakos said Milton is the smallest municipality to be considered. Town council agreed to let Town Manager Kristy Rogers begin working with DelDOT to develop locations for districts before a formal agreement is finalized.

Coakley said the entire town could be made a transportation improvement district; it can even include land that may be annexed in the future.

The next step is drafting a formal agreement, which will contain the boundaries of the districts, the roles and responsibilities for each side, service standards, fees and monitoring responsibilities.

Once the agreement is signed, Coakley said, DelDOT and the town will begin working together on the land-use plan and identifying improvements. DelDOT will then develop cost estimates and a list of buildable projects; Coakley said the town would work with DelDOT to advocate for the projects.