The Millville Town Council made some long-term decisions at its July 14 meeting. Besides approving a new computer server for town hall, they nearly concluded talks about a proposed zoning overhaul.
The council unanimously opted to purchase and install the new computer server, at a cost of $10,344. The existing server, from 2008, has trouble connecting to employees’ tech devices, officials said. They considered purchasing Microsoft Cloud, but the Town would still need a new server in two yeas, said Town Manager Debbie Botchie.
“I think in-house control, as much as possible, is preferable,” said Councilman Harry Kent, concerned that the Town would be at the mercy of Microsoft updates.
Information will not be stored in “the cloud,” but it will still be accessible from Town employees’ various devices when they travel.
Councilwoman Susan Brewer asked if they had considered any other companies besides Hilyard’s Inc. The server, Internet and programs have so many “interdependencies” that it was simpler to stick with one IT company that’s already on contract, Botchie said.
Zoning overhaul ready for final discussion
The council on July 14 also finished a line-by-line review of the proposed updated zoning code, found in Ordinance 16-01.
“We’re looking to the future and possibly what’s going to happen,” said Botchie.
At the June council workshop, council members had reviewed the AR-Agriculture Residential District and R-Residential District.
This month, they mulled over the C1-Route 26 Corridor/Town Center Commercial District, plus the C2-Town Commercial District.
Businesses in the commercial district can work with new lot sizes and uses. For instance, analysis of the C1 district showed “the lots were a lot larger, for the most part, for the whole district,” said town engineer Kyle Gulbronson of URS.
“However … 25 lots were made non-conforming by that [minimum] 14,000-square-foot area. … We thought that 8,000 [square-foot minimum] would be the best average small-lot size to make the majority conforming.”
Rear-yard setbacks were tricky for narrow lots, so the minimum 30 feet will be changed to 20 feet, unless the business’ property line backs up to a residential district or use.
Parking requirements are also being updated.
“The trend around the country is to scale it back. It helps with stormwater management and scales back the cost of development,” said Gulbronson.
“We’re creating these vast islands of asphalt,” he said, pointing to the massive Lowe’s parking lot in Millsboro, which he said is usually only “20 percent full.”
Mayor Gerry Hocker noted that the reduced need for parking also correlates with higher online sales. So, parking areas can be smaller, especially if the designer includes extra landscaping to improve stormwater drainage.
That being said, maximum impervious space on a lot is being bumped from 35 to 60 percent.
The council nailed down language and their preferences for conference centers, gyms and health facilities. Hotel and motel zoning requirements will be more similar to that of other businesses.
They’re still working on language for breweries and distilleries, which are only permitted when attached to a restaurant.
Botchie asked what was wrong with permitting a winery. “These types of businesses are up-and-coming.”
Kent said he feared an Anheuser-Busch rolling in with tractor-trailers if beverage-makers were permitted without requiring an attached restaurant.
Gas and service stations could be allowed as a conditional use — meaning the council would decide exactly what a developer must do before building.
Old and pending zoning applications will not be subject to the new requirements.
The Millville Town Council’s final review of Ordinance 16-01 will be done at its Tuesday, July 28, workshop, at 7 p.m. A public hearing and vote will be scheduled for a later date.
“We’ve had so many conversations one-on-one … that you all get it,” Botchie told the council.
Also at the July 14 meeting, Valerie Faden was appointed to the Board of Adjustment and sworn in.