Milton planners look for more information on Mulberry Street development

August 27, 2023

Milton Planning and Zoning Commission is seeking more information related to a proposed development at a vacant lot on 500 Mulberry St. 

At its Aug. 15 meeting, the commission chose to leave the record open to receive additional information as part of its preliminary site-plan review of the project, which is proposing to build 17 townhouses at the site.

Ken Christenbury, an engineer with Georgetown-based firm Axiom Engineering, said the project, to be known as Mulberry Heights, is in compliance with the town’s zoning code and that all the units will have decks except for one unit that backs up to the town’s sewer pump station. He said overall, the project is relatively straightforward. The lot is located next to the entrance to Shipbuilder’s Village.

However, Chair Richard Trask said right away that in his opinion, there was not enough information in the application for the commission to make a decision at this time. He said the engineering plans are not complete and do not contain adequate landscaping or utility plans. 

“There’s a lot of information that is missing here that we need to evaluate and to go over,” Trask said.

Commissioner George Cardwell asked about the easement for the sanitary sewer, as it is close to water lines for surrounding homes. Christenbury said he has spoken to Artesian representatives, and they have asked for a full profile prior to approval.

Christenbury said his goal was to get the commission’s feedback on the building placement, in case anything needed to be moved. 

Commissioner Jeff Seemans questioned whether two parking spaces per unit, as proposed, with no backup spaces on the property, might not be sufficient. Seemans also questioned the size of the trees planned for the property, saying they seemed very small to him. Trask added that the streets seem very tight, and he questioned whether a fire company ladder truck would be able to get in during an emergency.

Ultimately, the commission handed Christenbury his homework for the next meeting: to come back with details on lighting and landscaping plans, tree size, parking, water and sewer connections, and parking signs. 

Plans to develop that land have been approved by planning and zoning twice before, in 2006 and 2015, but development did not proceed due to financial issues in 2006 and expiration of regulatory approvals in 2015. In January 2022, current owner ECMM at Delaware LLC brought forth a different plan, this one for a 14-unit development, with a different engineering firm.

At the time, the planners had similar concerns regarding the lighting plan, elevations, access to the sewer pump station and the tightness of the emergency access. 

Those plans called for two buildings of units, one facing Shipbuilders Boulevard and the other facing Mulberry Street. Current plans call for four buildings, consisting of three, six, four and four units apiece, respectively. The main entrance to the parcel would be off Mulberry Street, and the rear of the parcel would contain a stormwater infiltration basin.

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