Milton officials and residents recently got their first look at a concept plan for a proposed Royal Farms store and gas station to be located near the intersection of Route 16 and Union Street Extended.
The Milton Planning and Zoning Commission met July 20 to ask questions of Royal Farms’ chief engineer James Taylor, with most regarding the entrance planned to be located on Cedar Creek Road.
The 7.68-acre parcel where the Royal Farms would be built was annexed into town in December and is zoned C-1 commercial. Milton Town Council voted July 12 to approve a request by developer Route 16/5 LLC to partition the property into two lots, with 2.5 acres devoted to the Royal Farms and the rest planned for a proposed office/storage complex.
In the concept plan, the store layout shows the main entrance and exit for the property on Cedar Creek Road. The convenience store is positioned in the center of the property with the gas pumps fronting Route 16. The plans call for a shared-use path along Route 16. Parking would be located near the Cedar Creek Road entrance and in the rear of the complex along Route 16. Directional signs would be located on the Cedar Creek Road and Route 16 ends of the parcel.
There will also be a loading zone with a dumpster that Taylor said would be screened by both fencing and landscaping. Along Cedar Creek Road and Route 16, there will be 15-foot easements for the state, which manages both roads.
Commission members focused on the entrance as the main point of their questions. Commissioner Don Mazzeo asked Taylor whether the entrance is actually on the property partitioned for the Royal Farms. Taylor said the plan is to have a shared entrance for both lots on the parcel.
Taylor said left-hand turns out of the property have not yet been approved by Delaware Department of Transportation, and the current plan is for cars to make right or left turns from Cedar Creek Road to enter the complex and right-hand turns only to get out.
“If it’s not safe access, we don’t want to do it,” Taylor said.
Commissioner Maurice McGrath said left-hand turns into the site should not be permitted, for one because McGrath did not believe they were safe, but also because people would try to make lefts out of the site if they saw people making lefts into the site.
Chairman Richard Trask said, “We are very concerned about a left-hand turn into this property.”
While Taylor said there is nothing in the plans calling for electric vehicle charging stations at the Royal Farms, Trask and other commission members encouraged Taylor to further look into installing them at the store.
When discussing the intersection of Route 16 and Union Street Extended, Taylor said DelDOT has indicated it would be looking into making improvements at that intersection, so decisions would not be made by Royal Farms.
Concept review is a voluntary step of Milton’s zoning code; an applicant can decide whether or not to undergo the process. A concept review allows the commission to study early plans and determine whether they are appropriate for a given site, and to ask questions that the applicant can work on before coming back for preliminary site-plan review, which is the first step of Milton’s site-plan review process. A date for preliminary site-plan review on the Royal Farms project has not yet been set.