Milton planners approve new Chestnut Crossing plat

Change would pave way for town to take over street maintenance
February 14, 2023

The Milton Planning and Zoning Commission gave residents of Chestnut Crossing a bit of good news Jan. 17, approving an amendment to the development’s plat plan that will pave the way for the development’s streets to be dedicated to the town.

The plat amendment incorporates changes that will allow the town to finish the streets and sidewalks. Chestnut Crossing is a 25-lot subdivision on 12 acres off Chestnut Street, neighboring Dogfish Head’s brewery. The subdivision held its grand opening in August 2005 and has since developed 21 of 25 lots. The project was developed by Atlantic Land Development LLC. 

Around 10 years ago, a punch list was developed by the town’s engineers, Pennoni Associates, with construction items that needed to be completed before the streets could be dedicated to the town, which would then be responsible for maintenance. The developer disagreed with the list and nothing was completed. The developer eventually became insolvent, and the homeowners were left trying to figure out how the punch list would be completed. The town has around $73,000 from the development’s completion bond to finish the work, but increases in costs over the last 10 years ago have seen the prices of the punch list items rise to an estimated $323,000. Items on the list include replacing 626 linear feet of curbs, repaving the roads, repairing and replacing storm inlets, installing two Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant sidewalks, landscaping, trees, and gazebos and benches. 

Much of the maintenance in the development, such as cutting the grass in the common areas and paying the electric bill for the streetlights, has fallen on the community homeowners’ association. The developer wanted to turn control over to the HOA, but residents were not able to get a hold harmless agreement from the town for the costs of the repairs.

Last April, residents went to the town council about completing the punch list. Much of the past year has been spent working out details of the agreement, which included dropping amenities like brick pavers and gazebos, lowering the cost by $100,000. 

But to reflect those changes, the town needed to approach planning and zoning for a plat amendment before it could move forward, and the commission granted unanimously. 

On Feb. 6, town council unanimously approved the amended plat plan, and began the next step of sending out a request for proposals to complete the street work.

During debate about an RFP, Councilwoman Lee Revis-Plank expressed concern over the project’s potential price tag, asking for consideration of a $150,000 cap on project spending. Revis-Plank said the town has stepped up and tried hard to work with the residents of Chestnut Crossing, but she didn’t want to see improvements for this one neighborhood have a negative effect on the rest of the town. She said the project is not in the town’s budget, and residents in other neighborhoods in town, who recently had their property taxes increased by 17%, will not reap benefits.

Mayor John Collier said over the years, the town leadership took its eye off the ball when it came to Chestnut Crossing, whose residents are also part of the town. He said the town cannot issue an RFP with a cap on the price, as it will dissuade potential bidders from submitting proposals. He said council can debate the cost after bids come in.

Council decided to move forward with the RFP to keep the project moving, with that motion passing unanimously.


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