Millville approves final schematics

On Tuesday, Millville town officials approved the last set of schematic plans for Millville by the Sea. Before this week, Commercial B — the downtown area of the 606-acre development — was the only phase of the master planned community that didn’t yet have schematic approval. That changed on Tuesday with a unanimous vote.

“They had a meeting with Kyle Gulbronson (the town’s land planner) and met all of the requests the town had,” Millville Mayor Gary Willey said. “With his blessing, we approved it.”

Millville by the Sea Project Manager Al Ruble said he doesn’t expect to return for final approval until early 2007. Land development could still be 18 months away, he said. The project will take two to three years to complete development and building, he added.

But when finished, Ruble said that the downtown area that received schematic approval on Tuesday will include about 431,000 square feet of commercial, residential and office space.

It will combine second-level condominiums and corner coffee shops with an outdoor pavilion suitable for jazz concerts. A carousel will also sit downtown, along with a church and possibly a hotel, in what Ruble hopes will someday be the “heartbeat” of Millville.

“It’s a nice area,” Willey said. “It’s done right. I think the whole project is nice.”

“Everything went through real well,” Ruble added. “We’ve got a chance to do something real special for the community. Now things will just evolve over the next 10 years.”

If built according to schematic plans, Millville by the Sea builders will place about 2,500 homes on 606 lots in the Route-17 based community. Millville Group officials are awaiting state agencies’ final approval for Phase I of the project before obtaining building permits to start land development on the 197-home first phase this fall.

Ruble said that he expects the first house to be built in Phase I in December or January. Along with Phase I, Ruble said that the group hopes to build a temporary welcome and sales center and four or five model homes to show town residents and prospective buyers what the community might look like when completed.

Development officials expect to build the 50,000-square-foot family center, complete with two pools, a library and much more, along with the first part of Phase II. Ruble said he expects that portion of the plan to reach final approval by the fall, when land development starts on Phase I.

Millville Fire Company asks for help through fee

Willey appointed three town officials to a committee to consider establishing an impact fee in the town to support the Millville Volunteer Fire Company at the request of Fire Chief Graig Temple on Tuesday night.

Town Councilmen Tim Droney and Gerry Hocker will work with Town Manger Linda Collins on the committee to explore the option and report back to council at June’s meeting.