Milton council to debate two annexation requests Sept. 21

Route 16 parcels to be used for commercial, residential ventures
September 14, 2020

Milton Town Council will hold two public hearings at 6:30 p.m., Monday, Sept. 21, at Grace Church, on a pair of annexation requests for parcels on Route 16.

The first annexation is for a 7.68-acre parcel at the corner of Union Street Extended and Route 16 owned by Stephen and Lynn Dexter. The Dexters have proposed annexing the property, currently in Sussex County zoned AR-1, and turning it into a commercial venture that would include an office complex, storage facility and gas station. 

The proposal was reviewed by the special review committee and the Milton Planning and Zoning Commission, which both concurred that annexing the property would have more positives than negatives for the town.

In its advisory report, planning and zoning said the use proposed is compatible with nearby uses located within town limits. The property is across the street from the Food Lion shopping center, which is within the town of Milton. The commission also said the proposed use is compatible with the provisions of the comprehensive development plan. 

In addition, the connections to town roadways, water and sewer lines will be paid for by the developer. The commission recommended zoning the parcel C-1 commercial.

“Commercial uses along the Route 16 corridor represent orderly growth and development of the town and its environs in a manner which will protect, conserve and stabilize the value of land, structures and neighborhoods by providing a place for commercial uses that comports with larger road arteries,” the planners’ report said. 

During their discussions, planning and zoning commissioners raised concerns about whether the applicant could get the annexation and then change plans for how the land would be developed. Town Solicitor Seth Thompson said the use of the land would be codified in an annexation agreement between the town and the Dexters.

The second proposed annexation is at the intersection of Route 16 and Country Road. Under this proposal, Milton Attainable Housing LLC, a joint project of developer Preston Schell and Rehoboth Beach businessman Eric Sugrue, is seeking to annex 26 acres of land for a commercial/residential development. 

Plans for the development have changed over time, and now include four commercial pad sites ranging in size from .93 acres to 1.3 acres. In addition, there will be six, 24-unit three-story apartment buildings, and eight, 12-unit, two-story apartment buildings for a total of 239 units. Schell said the proposal originally included townhouses, but those have been taken out.

The parcel is currently partly in town and partly in the county. Under Milton Attainable Housing’s proposal, 5 acres would be zoned C-1 commercial, with the rest zoned R-3 residential, which allows for multifamily housing. 

The proposed development was reviewed by the special review committee and the planning and zoning commission, which found that the development offered an expanded tax base, with infrastructure paid for by the developer and little cost to the town. Both committees favored moving forward with approving the annexation.


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