Hotel booking? Millsboro exploring higher height allowance along highway


MILLSBORO – Millsboro Mayor John Thoroughgood wants town council to consider raising the bar for height allowance in the highway commercial district.

Raising permitted height several stories would be more conducive to attracting hotel/motel interest, he says.

Millsboro Mayor John Thoroughgood

“You’re not going to sell a hotel to the town with just three stories. It’s not going to happen,” Mayor Thoroughgood said at the July 3 council meeting.

The town’s current height allowance is three stories.

“Right now, we’re at three stories. Anything over two floors you’ve got to have an elevator. They would not put an elevator in for one floor. So economically it is not feasible to build a motel in Millsboro the way the code is set now,” said Mayor Thoroughgood. “I am proposing for the council to think about it and look at maybe the height restriction of five stories.”

His proposal would specifically zone in on the highway commercial zoning district along U.S. 113. “Not in the town,” Mayor Thoroughgood said.

“If you went five stories you’d have the capability of five stories. Another option they like to use is four stories and one floor be conference room/restaurants. They like that scenario,” said Mayor Thoroughgood.

Town councilman Tim Hodges asked if the proposal would be exclusively for hotels/motels.

“I’d hate to see Millsboro have multi five-story buildings,” said Mr. Hodges.

“I understand your idea that you don’t want Ocean City. I understand all of that,” said Mayor Thoroughgood. “If you went and talked to Hampton Inn’s CEOs they would not come to a town that you’ve only got three-story height. I am on board with Tim. I don’t want Ocean City. We don’t want 10 of them lined up. I don’t want the town of Millsboro to look like Ocean City.”

Council placed the issue in the hands of town solicitor Mary Schrider-Fox, who will examine town code.

“You want to be thoughtful about this,” said Ms. Schrider-Fox. “We have the idea out there. I can legally look at what the options are.”

“There has been interest,” said Mayor Thoroughgood. “But the drawback you have if you have three stories … you can’t make it work in the motel business.”

Council reorganizes

At the July 3 meeting, council held its annual reorganization for fiscal year 2017-18. There was no change from 2016-17.

Mr. Thoroughgood was re-elected mayor. Michelle Truitt was re-elected to serve as vice mayor.

Councilman James Kells remains council’s secretary and Bradley Cordrey is treasurer.

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at

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