Milford Plaza improvements, Hickory Glen plans heard

 The Hickory Glen development is seen here as previously proposed in recent years. Special to The Chronicle

The Hickory Glen development is seen here as previously proposed in recent years. Special to The Chronicle

MILFORD — Zombie projects are a nuisance and a problem in Milford, according to engineer Phil Tolliver who hopes to continue working on the Hickory Glen subdivision project.

“Zombie projects have sewer stubs sticking out of the ground and unmaintained roads. That’s a public nuisance. When I was a teenager, that’s probably where I would have gone. No one wants to see those zombie projects anywhere and it’s not unique to Milford. It looks unsightly. It’s not really what anyone wants,” he explained.

The project was recommended for approval in February of 2014 with its first extension granted in February of 2015, according to City Solicitor David Rutt.

Mr. Tolliver requested another extension from the planning and zoning commission in Milford during the Tuesday, Feb. 16 meeting for the subdivision project currently in the works off of rt. 14 near Canterbury Rd.

The commission unanimously approved a site plan extension and recommended an extension for the subdivision to the city council, but not before more than 30 minutes of debate between commissioners and Mr. Tolliver.

“I’m not fuzzy on the idea of extension after extension. I remember the first time you came here, we talked about the senior component up in the corner that has now been tossed to the side. I just want to see what kind of assurance you can give me to say you won’t be back here again,” Commissioner W. Ed Holloway said.

“I understand you’re frustrated,” Mr. Tolliver said in response to the concerns of several commissioners. “I don’t know what’s going to happen a year from now; I wish I did. It’s going to take us at least the next 12 months to get the entitlements. If the market is going gangbuster by then and there’s a buyer, then we’ll start shortly thereafter.”

He said despite work already completed, such as public works agreements and approvals for stormwater management and sediment control, he could not guarantee this would be the last extension requested.

“There was a delay in DBF [Davis, Bowen & Friedel, Inc.] getting us this report. It took the better part of a year to get this part together. That created a very, very significant delay. And just when things started to get going with Hans Medlarz, he left. I don’t know what created that, but that was another delay,” Mr. Tolliver said.

“We needed to work out some of these details downstream because they influence how you work the pump station upstream. It does take time to pull all of these things together. Hans leaving also didn’t help at all.”

Some big projects remain for the developers and engineers working on the Hickory Glen project such as final designs for the pump station which will now also include flows from the cold storage and several other local properties and DelDOT approval.

Mr. Tolliver also expressed dissatisfaction with the extension process within the city of Milford.

“With a project of this size, 12 months is just simply not enough time. It took almost a year to get this thing done. Without this, we didn’t even really know which way the sewer was flowing. How do you work without knowing which way the sewer is flowing,” he asked.

Commissioner Andrew Fulton noted that although the property currently remains void of residents or businesses, the city realizes taxes from the property and will gain an improved sewer system in that area.

 Planning and zoming commissioners were pleased with a presentation aimed at improving the Milford Plaza on the corner of Rt. 113 and Rt. 14 which included better traffic fl ows and additional retail spaces. Special to The Chronicle

Planning and zoming commissioners were pleased with a presentation aimed at improving the Milford Plaza on the corner of Rt. 113 and Rt. 14 which included better traffic fl ows and additional retail spaces. Special to The Chronicle

Proposed changes to Milford Plaza

The planning and zoning commission also approved preliminary site plans for changes to the Milford Plaza located at the corner of Rt. 113 and Rt. 14.

The plans call for demolitions to the current Citizens Bank and Donut Connections buildings. A new Citizens Bank building is proposed for the area currently occupied by the Donut Connections building.

An 8,000 sq. ft. building may be built in place of the current Citizens Bank, according to Doug Leiberman of Larson Engineering Group, Inc.

“The site plan also includes ADA required parking space and the installation of a shared walking path,” he said.

Planning & Economic Activities Coordinator Rob Pierce said those additions are sorely needed for the growing town.

“This has stop signs and better markings. If you’re out there at lunch time, it can get pretty wild,” he said.

Mr. Lieberman added, “We’re adding numerous grass areas to help control traffic. I think it will be a much better situation than what we have now which is kind of a free for all right now.”

Parking, however, will need to be addressed by the board of adjustments as the plan is short about 48 of the required spaces.

Should plans continue for the Milford Plaza as proposed, Mr. Leiberman said four businesses new to the area could open in the 8,000 sq. ft. building which has four 2,000 sq. ft. suites inside. He said two national chain restaurants are currently looking at moving to the plaza along with a retail business.

Jennifer Antonik can be reached at mc@newszap.com

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