Royal Farms coming to Milton

Partitioning request to be heard July 12
July 8, 2021

Plans are in place to bring a Royal Farms store to a location off Route 16 in Milton on 7.86 acres of land that was annexed into town earlier this year.

The planned location is at a triangle of land between Route 16, Union Street Extended and Cedar Creek Road. Breahna Brown, spokeswoman for Royal Farms, said the intention is to begin construction this fall.

The land on which the Royal Farms would be built is subject to a partitioning application coming before Milton Town Council during its Monday, July 12 meeting at Milton Public Library. Council approved annexation in December, with plans to construct a commercial complex that would include a gas station, convenience store and storage facility. The land is zoned C-1 commercial.

The proposal is to divide the 7-plus-acre site into two parcels; Royal Farms would occupy the one closest to the intersection of Union Street Extended and Route 16. Royal Farms would purchase the parcel where that store and gas station would go, hence the need for partitioning. The second lot would run between Cedar Creek Road and Mulberry Street Extended.

Eric Sugrue, developer of the parcel, said the sale to Royal Farms is conditional on approval of the partitioning, but that once that happens, Royal Farms will be the sole owner. He said plans are still in place to build what he called “flex space” on the second parcel – office and storage space – but those plans have been put on the back burner in favor of moving forward with Royal Farms. 

Plans to develop the parcel, known as the Dexter property for owners Stephen and Lynn Dexter, have been in the works since late 2019. The town’s special review committee recommended annexation of the property in July 2020, after determining that the proposed development would not have an adverse impact on the town and is consistent with other development in that area. The parcel is adjacent to the Food Lion shopping center. 

“I’m excited to see the whole plan come to fruition,” Sugrue said. “It’s nice to see all that start to happen. It’s been a few years now.”

Council to debate appeals resolution

Also at its July 12 meeting, Milton Town Council will debate a resolution that would set rules for handling appeals of Milton Planning and Zoning Commission decisions.

Council has a pending appeal from former planning and zoning Commissioner Barry Goodinson over the special permitted-use permit granted to Verizon to construct a 140-foot cellphone tower at the town’s public works yard on Front Street. 

The resolution governing appeals was first brought up in June, but was protested by Goodinson and other citizens because they felt too much power was concentrated in the hands of the mayor. Council members were wary of voting on the resolution because they felt they had not had enough time to review it. Mayor Ted Kanakos accepted a motion to table the resolution for further review.

Kanakos said the town did not have a process for appeals from planning and zoning, so the idea was to take the existing process governing board of adjustment appeals and adopt those rules for planning and zoning. 

Council will also debate a resolution allowing Town Manager Kristy Rogers to seek a $27,000 grant to conduct a feasibility study of a shared-use path for bicycles and pedestrians on Lavinia Street. Council will discuss and possibly vote to approve a resolution extending the life of the Traffic Calming Advisory Ad Hoc Committee until September. 

Finally, council will discuss an ordinance modifying town code regarding business licenses.

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