Millville Council bids Bennett bon voyage

Town wants Millville By the Sea to draw the line

Joan Bennett took a seat in the audience for the Millville Town Council’s June 10 meeting. The now-former councilmember has sold her property in Millville and stepped down from the public position last week.

“Joan brought an extreme abundance of knowledge to the Town of Millville,” said Mayor Gerald “Gerry” Hocker Jr. “You will be missed. Thank you for your many years of service. You were a true asset.”

“Because I’ve never been at a loss for words … I want to thank you all. It’s been interesting. It’s been challenging,” Bennett said.

She complimented the Town staff’s hard work and contractors’ expertise.

“You’re terrific people to work with.”

Bennett’s current tenure began in March of 2011, but she had previously served on the Millville council after she moved to the area from Connecticut.

“Millville has always been blessed to have a council made of different expertise,” Hocker said. “We always compromise. We’ve always respected each other.”

Also on June 10, the council approved Millville Town Center’s final subdivision site plans for Millville By the Sea’s Summerwind Village, located near the lifestyle center.

Summerwind Village fulfilled the Town’s preliminary site plan requirements, with a minor issue that “can be addressed in the field,” said Kyle Gulbronson of URS, town engineer.

Councilmember Harry Kent saw propane lines on the map but wanted to know how propane travelled from a new tank farm to the neighborhood.

He envisioned “a 4-inch gas main running through a field. That’s a concern to me … I’d like to know up front what we’re going with.”

The Town must ensure adequate plans exist, although it cannot dictate the location of gas lines, said Seth Thompson, town solicitor.

Kent said he wanted utilities clearly delineated for the public and emergency services, though Chuck Ellison of developer Miller & Smith said separate a utilities right-of-way is not required because Millville Town Center owns all the land.

While Ellison failed to produce a full-sized map with gas lines, he sketched the general map on a whiteboard and promised to produce an official schematic for the council soon.

Several residents were agitated about the gas lines, muttering throughout the meeting and physically signaling their displeasure to council.

Wally Barns, who resides on the former propane tank location, asked how deep will the lines be, and were there any environmental rules for installation.

Gas lines are dug about 18 to 24 inches belowground and beneath streams, Ellison said. They cannot interfere with the Army Corps of Engineers’ ditches, so installation and ground stabilization is quick.

Penney McCormick also worried over a possible gas explosion or fire. She asked about the location.

The gas line will follow an existing walking path, which may be slightly rerouted when a permanent road is installed. At that time, the gas line may be adjusted to closely follow the roadway instead.

“The location is temporary [but] installation is the same as if it was a permanent facility,” Ellison said of the propane line.

There will be proper signage along the path, he added.

The Town must still review and approve the changes in the revised MBS Master Plan, which is subject to future public approval process.

Despite having wide lots, some houses nearly fill the land, Kent observed.

“Those houses are going to be approximately 10 feet apart. Are there any special easements with that?” asked Kent, indirectly referencing the previous night’s Planning & Zoning Commisison meeting, in which MBS received a slap on the wrist for selling lots with neighborly easements, without the Town of Millville’s knowledge or zoning approval.

“No, sir,” Ellison said.

Kent also wanted fresh paperwork. Although an addendum was submitted, he was reading paperwork that still included a former tank farm and erroneous detail to be stricken.

The council voted 3-0-1 (Steve Maneri abstaining) to approve the Summerwind Village final subdivision site plans with two conditions: MBS developers resubmit the maps to include a propane line, as well as new paperwork removing language about the temporary propane tanks.

The council also approved (3-0-1) MBS’s request to build the planned T-shaped boat dock at a slightly different location on the community lake, to spread out amenities and for ease of sloping the pathway.

Town Manager Debbie Botchie also reported at the June 10 meeting that Millville’s total cash assets have topped $6 million.

The Millville Town Council will meet on June 24 for a workshop at 7 p.m.