Millville approves Methodist church expansion

Ready to spread their wings, Millville United Methodist Church had their site plans unanimously approved at the Oct. 8 meeting of the Millville Town Council. The MUMC Board of Trustees hopes to construct a 3,200-square-foot social hall next to the church, located at 36405 Club House Road, across from Millville Town Hall.

The one-story social hall will replace the two-story Wesley House, which is used as a parsonage.

The project would make a minimum impact on the three parcels of church land, said Tom Ford of Land Design. The total of 73 parking spots to be provided was more than the 66 required to adequately serve both buildings independently.

Ford noted that Millville doesn’t have shared parking criteria, unlike some other municipalities. Usually, the church and social hall would not be used simultaneously, so it wasn’t a problem for them, but he suggested the Town consider the complex issue in the future, for when multiple businesses want to share parking at different hours.

The space is handicapped-accessible for both parking and ramps. Sidewalks will be wider than the ADA recommendations, which encourages socialization, as will outdoor seating areas, representatives said.

Planning & Zoning approved the plans, with the condition that sidewalks are built within one year of DelDOT’s nearby roadwork completion.

The church representatives said they were concerned about the Route 26 Mainline Improvements Project. Route 26 curves away from the church, so the road tilts upward for ease of driving. But that means rainwater could pool behind the roadway on church property. However, DelDOT is expected to install catch basins to prevent pooling.

In other Millville news:

• Bids were accepted for town hall fire and security systems, but more information was requested from the vendors.

• A holiday market is being scheduled for Dec. 7, featuring a market, choir and tree lighting.

Linda Kent reported that the farmers’ market may open earlier in the morning next summer, since farmers were ready to begin and can stay cooler by starting at that hour.

She also recommended that the Town not get involved with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also known as food stamps) which helps low-income families get nutritious food. Currently, the Historic Lewes Farmers Market is the only farmers’ market in the area that is currently participating in the program, even providing bonus purchase power to those using SNAP at that market.

“I don’t think there was anybody that came in that they had a problem a vendor didn’t help or a volunteer did not help,” Kent said. “No one went away due to [inability to pay].”

• The Great Pumpkin Festival numbers weren’t all in, but Town Manage Debbie Botchie said she believed it was “one again a huge success,” with around 550 treat bags distributed, Indian River High School JROTC volunteers out “in full force,” live music and more. Botchie said an Ocean View resident personally commended the festival and said they hope it continues.

It was “well-attended and well-received,” said Mayor Gerry Hocker, thanking the staff, volunteers and Millville Volunteer Fire Company.

The next Town Council meeting will be Tuesday, Nov. 12, at 7 p.m.

Planning & Zoning meets Monday, Oct. 21, at 7 p.m. to discuss construction and access roads for Millville By the Sea and Summerwind Village.