Millville property owners try to rezone

The Millville Planning and Zoning Commission met Monday, April 12, to review four commercial rezoning applications.

Gerald Hocker Jr., also a member of the town council, requested that his property retain the C-2 large-scale commercial zoning it originally had, rather than being rezoned as C-1. He stated that, although he did not have a definite plan for the property, with the sewer lines having recently been installed within the town, the property has access to three 8-inch sewer hookups and a good deal of road frontage to support any traffic and entry into the property.

Vince Robertson of Griffin and Hackett PA was there to speak on behalf of Robert Kauffman, who opposed the C-2 zoning.

“They have no specific plans. It’s less about a specific project and more about sound planning. It seemed to make more sense to look at several properties along one common frontage all at once. Despite the comments, your own comp plan said that the Planning and Zoning Commission is also evaluating other commercial properties throughout the town to see what properties could be conducive to the C-2 large-scale development,” Robertson stated.

Robert Linett, commission chairman, said the new comprehensive plan calls for the town to “provide orderly population and business growth,” requiring as few variances as possible in the layout of town zoning. Linett also voiced his concern over traffic, with congestion being a major concern on Atlantic Avenue. He also noted that, through an “extensive survey effort” of town residents, those who responded said they wanted to keep Millville’s small-town appeal intact.

Commissioners Kim DiLorenzo and Holly Wingate also agreed with Linett.

“I know that the town is developing and that we need businesses, but do we need gigantic businesses right now? And I think that’s what we should go on,” said Commissioner Christine West.

“I’m not averse to these applications as a whole. I find that it’s a contiguous effort,” said Commissioner James Koozer.

The commission voted 4-1 in favor of recommending to town council that Hocker’s rezoning applications be denied at this time.

In a second hearing, Dan Harris and Nino D’Orazio, who own the Shoppes of Millville and a group of mini-storage units, explained that they hope to eventually expand their storage facility. The two said they have had a master plan of expansion since they first partnered together 20 years ago.

D’Orazio noted that mini-storage units have the least impact on traffic of any other possible business.

Mike McCarthy of Mike McCarthy Stones Inc. also requested on April 12 that his property be zoned in the C-1 district, so that he may expand his stone yard and his business as a whole.

The committee voted 4-1 against suggesting to council either property be rezoned. Instead, they suggested the business owners go to the town’s Board of Adjustments and apply for variances that would permit them specific option of expansion for their particular business and nothing else.

“It’s permitted use, and they’re there. I do not see any adverse impact on health, safety or welfare,” Koozer said, supporting the requests and voicing his opposition to the committee’s majority vote.

The Millville Town Council will hold its monthly workshop April 27, at 7 p.m., at which time they plan to vote on the rezoning applications.

In other Millville news:

• The town council met on Tuesday, April 13, and voted 5-0 in favor of adopting Ordinance 10-07, which will allow for “the service of alcoholic beverages in restaurants provided it is limited to seated dining only from a service bar; alcoholic beverages to be prepared by the employees of the restaurant for delivery to seated patrons only.”

• On Tuesday, April 20, at 6 p.m., the Great Pumpkin Festival planning committee will meet at Millville Town Hall.

• Mayor Don Minyon said he hopes to establish a town-wide yard sale on July 3. He said he hopes it will not only get people into town but allow for residents to be more involved.

• On April 24, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Delaware’s First Lady, Carla Markell, will host Volunteer Appreciation Day at the Ocean View Police Department. April is Volunteer Month in Delaware. Volunteer groups from the area will have their own individual booths to explain what they are doing in the community and offer outlets for the volunteer-minded.

• Also on April 24, at noon, is the official opening of the Beebe medical facility at Creekside Plaza. There will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony, followed by tours of the facility for those in attendance.