Millville by the Sea residents to expect official traffic survey

Residents of Millville by the Sea should be looking for an email survey soon, regarding traffic in the community. The developer needs public input for traffic issues before moving forward with the next MBTS neighborhood.

In August, the Millville Town Council instructed the developer and master homeowner association to compromise on traffic calming plan for Sand Dollar Village. This condition is holding up approvals for Section 1 of Sea Star Village, although the villages overall preliminary site plan was approved in March of 2016.

“The developer is concerned about traffic safety within the community, and we are committed to a [traffic plan all MBTS owners can support],” said Frawn Morgan of LDC Advisors.

“We are in the process of designing that survey now and expect to deploy that in the next few weeks,” Morgan told town council on Sept. 12.

They’ve hired a community research expert to help. Although the traffic control measures might only be in a few places, the roads will be owned by the entire property owners’ association. So all 382 existing residences in the neighborhood will be surveyed. Surveys will be emailed, and each residence gets one vote. They will also poll the eight homes still under contract, although those will be identified separately in the final report.

The goal is to finish by the Oct. 10 Millville Town Council meeting.

“We can let the community know we’re looking for a quick response so we can move forward on this … I want this to be done, but I want to make sure we approach this sensibly,” said Morgan.

She reminded the group that all neighborhoods will have to pay for this. In other communities, she’s seen the people ask the developer to remove traffic control items, so she wants to ensure everyone is on-board.

Town Council unanimously approved an extension for this project, 3-0 (with Steve Maneri recusing himself and Susan Brewer absent).

But residents want more action to happen now. They said they’ve identified the problem: speed and volume.

In fact, the residents have already polled themselves in Sand Dollar Village. About 138 responses came from the 240 residents polled (out of 250 residents total), according to Wally Bartus.

Generally, about 95 people voted for some traffic control, like speed humps or radar. About 43 voted against.

Conversation will continue in October.

In other Millville news:

• Town park plans are going so slowly that the Great Pumpkin Festival was canceled this year.

Delaware Department of Transportation has nearly approved the entrance plans, which has taken far longer than expected. Maneri hopes to move forward in November, pending permits.

“The permits have been killing us. But once we get the permits, I think it’s going to go in very quick,” said Maneri.

He hopes the first phase is complete in spring of 2017, with parking lot and playground equipment. Phase 2 is the recreation building, trail and exercise stations. Phase 3 would finish the project with stage and pickleball courts.

The council unanimously approved a proposal for George, Miles & Buhr, LLC (GMB) to manage bidding services for the park, for about $12,500.

Town staff “are not qualified to do this type of work,” said Town Manager Debbie Botchie.

GMB is already being paid for other services, including project design. Now, GMB will also prepare all bidding paperwork before construction begins.

Projects will probably bid out in two contracts: site work and actual building.

• Millville had another good financial audit.

Herb Geary of TGM Group, LLC, gave the town an “unmodified” opinion of their Fiscal Year 2017 finances, which is the highest opinion he can give. This is a reflection of the books, meaning the town kept accurate representation of its dealings.

Despite the town’s plentiful coffers, the Town received its usual rebuke at having so few people overseeing so much money. Although Geary complimented the staff for putting using other controls to counterbalance the lack of manpower.

Town Council’s next workshop is Tuesday, Sept. 26, at 7 p.m.