Millville council tables action on allowing temporary sales centers

After a public hearing held at their May council meeting, the Millville Town Council tabled discussion on a proposed amendment to the town’s zoning ordinance, Article X – “Conditional Uses,” until their May 22 workshop, with possible action in June. The amendment would have allowed for temporary residential real estate sales centers and would have added the terminology “temporary residential real estate sales center” to the code.

In March, the council had first heard from representatives of Beazer Homes and George Miles & Burh LLC (GMB) about their request to construct a trailer-type modular sales office inside town limits. Steve Marsh of GMB noted that “trailers” are not allowed as sales offices in current town code related to residential planned communities (RPCs) and that they can’t get a special-use exception because no process for receiving one exists in Millville. As a result, they needed advice from the council.

Many of the people who came out to attend the public hearing expressed apprehension as to what would happen to the “trailer” if the developer abandoned the project or if the economy turned worse. There were several motions put on the floor, each without seconds, before the council finally decided to discuss the issue again at their next workshop.

“Can we vote on it and put it to bed?” asked Councilman Robert Gordon. Councilman Jon Subity asked if it could be tabled, and Gordon then asked if it had to be discussed at the next council meeting or if it could just be discussed at an unspecified future date.

“Well, if we are tabling it just to avoid it, then we need to strike it,” half-joked Mayor Gerry Hocker.

Hocker motioned to approve the code amendment, with contingencies, but received no second. Councilwoman Joan Bennett motioned not to approve it, but the vote didn’t carry. The council then decided they would discuss it further at the workshop and again at the June council meeting, possibly with minor wording changes for clarification.

Town Solicitor Seth Thompson offered that the language in the current code regarding RPCs could be modified to clarify the Town’s position without specifically adopting the proposed ordinance.

The town council on May 8 also voted to approve changes to the schematic master plan for Millville by the Sea for sections of Phase II. The Planning and Zoning Commission had voted to recommend approval of the changes at their last meeting.

Also at the May 8 town council meeting:

• It was announced that the town’s new farmers’ market will start June 7, with about 11 vendors, and Bennett thanked all those involved.

• The council voted unanimously to appoint Harry Kent – a regular at town meetings and “market master” of the new farmers’ market – to complete the remaining time in the council term of the late Richard Thomas. Thompson then swore him in as a new council member.