Milton planners to debate YourSpace application

Discussion on conditions of special use permit to resume Aug. 2
August 1, 2022

Milton Planning and Zoning Commission will resume discussion at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 2, on a special-use permit for a 123,000-square-foot storage facility proposed on Route 16. The matter was tabled after questions were raised about possible conditions to be attached to the permit. 

Maryland-based Peak Management is seeking to build the facility, called YourSpace Self Storage, that would include a 113,000-square-foot, three-story building. Plans also include a garage, office space and a one-story, 5,500-square-foot accessory building for additional self-storage. The company has 11 storage facilities, primarily in Baltimore and Frederick counties in Maryland, with this to be its first in Sussex County. The facility would be located across Route 16 from the proposed Royal Farms gas station and convenience store near the intersection of Route 16 and Union Street Extended. 

While the property is zoned C-1 commercial, Peak Management still needs a special-use permit because a storage facility is a special permitted use within that zoning district.

At the commission’s July 19 meeting, David Hutt, attorney for Peak Management, said the growth of the Milton area has created a need for self-storage facilities. He said the three-acre site was picked because it is along a major roadway and in a commercial area. Hutt said the application has already been reviewed by the state Preliminary Land Use Service, which found the site compatible with what already exists in the area, although it said the developer should seek to minimize impacts on surrounding residential homes. Hutt said the proposed building has been oriented to be set away from the rear-yard setback to give more space from residential properties. He said landscape buffers also provide additional screening all around the facility.

The main sticking point in approving the application is eight conditions that Hutt suggested be included. Those conditions include: limiting the size of the three-story building to what has been proposed; limiting the office hours to 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday; a fenced and gated entrance; a manager on-site; no outside storage; on-site safety lighting included throughout the facility; air-conditioning units on the three-story building must be screened by fencing; and a 25-foot landscape buffer on the southeast and southwest sides of the property.

The issue for the commission is that the conditions originated with the applicant, and not with the commission. Commissioner Jeffrey Seemans said he did not think he could give a yea or nay vote without further examination of the conditions in writing and before the commission had the chance to impose its own conditions. 

Besides that, the commission also has concerns about parking, as well as the three-story building’s size. Commissioner Don Mazzeo suggested the building be scaled down to two stories, although Town Solicitor Seth Thompson said the size of the building was not really relevant to a special permitted use.

During the public comment portion of the hearing, Brian King, whose property is near the proposed facility, urged the commission to be cautious about what they allow in the corridor between Union and Mulberry streets. He said he had major concerns with the facility’s effect on traffic, particularly because it is across Route 16 from the proposed Royal Farms gas station and convenience store. Mazzeo said one problem for the town is that Route 16 is maintained by the Delaware Department of Transportation and the town has very little say over what happens as far as traffic flow on that road.

“I’m very concerned about it,” King said. “Is this the right project for this?”

The general concern from the additional four people who spoke is that the three-story building is too large and does not fit with the neighborhood. And while the commission shared some of those concerns, many will be addressed during the site-plan review process. 

Chair Richard Trask said, “This has been zoned commercial for a long time. If you look at the zoning code under C-1 and see what could actually be built there, this is the least impactful thing they could put there.”

The permitted uses in a C-1 zone – not special uses like a storage facility – include churches, hospitals, restaurants, supermarkets, funeral homes, general merchandising stores, hotels, museums and newspaper publishing facilities.

For the Aug. 2 meeting, Hutt said he would bring the conditions in writing for the commission to further discuss and potentially modify before taking a vote. 


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