Petco gets approval for store in Millville Town Center

A nationally-known pet store is close to getting its final approvals to come to Millville.

The Millville Town Council has approved a preliminary site plan and final site plan for Petco, a retailer of pet supplies and services, with more than 1,500 stores across the U.S., Mexico and Puerto Rico.

Petco plans to expand a store unit to the west side of the Super Giant grocery store in Millville Town Center.

With Harry Kent and Steve Maneri absent on Dec. 8, the remaining three council members unanimously voted to approve the site plans.

“I know that Petco is very excited to be coming to the town of Millville,” said engineer Ring Lardner of Davis, Bowen & Friedel Inc. architecture and engineering services.

The rear of the building will be expanded by approximately 2,282-square-feet. The space will also be expanded by pushing the side wall into an empty neighboring unit.

But since the project is just an addition to the existing structure, Petco didn’t have to provide much information to get approval.

That being said, the drawings provided weren’t completely straightforward.

“From the drawing I have of how it is today … to me it looks as if the proposed addition is larger in scale than the one that’s already there,” Councilman Robert “Bob” Gordon said. “There’s no legend” to clarify that.

Although the drawing didn’t spell it out, the Petco unit will be widened and lengthened, Lardner confirmed.

The drawing showed only half of Millville Town Center as a series of large buildings, instead of individual units. There were no business or road names for reference.

Several people crowded around the map while Lardner explained the layout, including where Giant and the other shops were located.

The applicant met all requirements for site plan approval, with no objections from Sussex Conservation District or Delaware State Fire Marshal. The expansion won’t affect the fire lane.

Due to the disbanding of the Town Planning & Zoning Commission, the town council simultaneously conducted the preliminary review and final approval of the site plan.

Petco must still apply for building permits.

P&Z Committee made official

Due to the difficulty in filling seats on the Planning & Zoning Commission, the town council had disbanded the group in October, opting for a slightly more casual Planning & Zoning Committee.

This month, they changed the Town’s Zoning Code (Chapter 33) to reflect the changes and outline the duties of a P&Z Committee. Ordinance 16-04 passed with a majority of the quorum, 2-0-1, with Councilwoman Susan Brewer recusing herself.

Millville’s new committee will include the town manager, town code and building administrator (Eric Evans), town planner (Kyle Gulbronson of AECOM, formerly URS) and a town council member (Brewer).

The members will be appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the council. There are no defined terms for the appointments, although the former commission had three-year terms. Unless removed by the mayor and town council, each member will serve until a replacement member is appointed and confirmed.

Meetings and records will be open to the public.

The town charter doesn’t require a planning commission or committee, noted Town Manager Debbie Botchie.

Fire company gets grants

The Millville Volunteer Fire Company received approval, 3-0, to collect its Town grant money.

In June, the town council had approved a new $500 impact fee for new commercial and residential construction, specifically to benefit MVFC.

In the first three months, $26,500 was collected. The MVFC’s annual application stated the money will reduce loan principals for two ambulances and one traffic-control unit.

The funds may be used to buy new equipment or replace outdated items. It is not meant to pay salaries or to replace operational expenses. It doesn’t affect the Town budget.

Officially, the MVFC will submit receipts to receive reimbursement.

Although the vote was unanimous, Gordon said he was surprised that the fire company had sent no representatives to the council meeting.

• Ordinance 16-03 passed with a 3-0 vote, cleaning up some language by removing special exceptions requirements from the Board of Adjustment ordinance. That was previously overlooked when those requirements were removed from the zoning code.

• In the absence of two council members, Resolution 16-02 was tabled, as Millville considers requesting a charter change from Delaware State Legislature.

• The Millville Town newsletter has been released this week.

• The council will vote to accept contractor bids for the new municipal building on Dec. 22.

The next meeting will be the council’s workshop on Tuesday, Dec. 22, at 7 p.m.