Milton Planning and Zoning Commission moved forward with business as usual, meeting March 17 to finalize an advisory report to Town Council recommending not to move forward with the rezoning of an 8-acre parcel on Mulberry Street.
But this particular meeting was anything but usual.
The commission, which normally meets in the Milton library, held the meeting in the lobby of Town Hall. The library has been closed to limit exposure to coronavirus, as was the town’s second choice, Milton Theatre.
The town’s administrative offices were closed to the public March 18. Town Manager Kristy Rogers said employees will still come to work, but meetings with town officials will be held by appointment only. Rogers said bill payments should be made via the town website or by dropping payment off through the mail slot in the rear of Town Hall.
But town meetings still have not been formally canceled. The special review committee held its March 19 meeting at Town Hall, but Mayor Ted Kanakos admitted it is going to be difficult to keep moving with the business of government, as Gov. John Carney has declared a state of emergency limiting public gatherings of 50 or more people.
“Everyday it changes and becomes more stringent,” Kanakos said. “We’re having a problem trying to find a place to hold our town meetings.”
While the majority of Milton meetings do not attract 50 people, Kanakos said the town is limited by other factors. Meetings must be held within the town limits, so the CHEER Center on Route 16 is out, and there has to be handicapped access for Councilman Charlie Fleetwood, who is in a wheelchair, so the second-floor conference room at Town Hall is out. Freedom of Information Act laws limit teleconferencing, although Kanakos thinks those rules will be loosened.
All these factors throw into question how the town will hold the Monday, April 6 town council meeting, where Councilman Rich Baty and Councilwoman-elect Randi Meredith are scheduled to be sworn in.
“We don’t know where the next meeting is going to be held,” Kanakos said. “I don’t know.”