Millsboro opts for review of code in Royal Farms’ car wash request

MILLSBORO – A new, modern-style Royal Farms is under construction along DuPont Boulevard in Millsboro.

The Mid-Atlantic convenience store chain wants to add a car wash to the original plans.

Millsboro town council at its Nov. 6 meeting tabled approval of the revised final site plan, pending receipt of photographic rendering of the proposed car wash and determination of permitted use in the highway commercial district.

“Council is not going to feel comfortable voting on something they don’t know what it is going to look like,” said Millsboro Mayor John Thoroughgood.

The car wash addition, presented by Michael Riemann, an engineer with Becker Morgan Group, led to discussion focusing on town code.

Town solicitor Mary Schrider-Fox brought to council’s attention that under current code the car wash would not be permitted as presented.

“The car wash structure/building is a completely separate building or structure from the main convenience store. Your zoning code is currently written and even under the current proposed amendment … you allow for a convenience-type store with gas pumps. And a car wash is another permissible principle use,” said Ms. Schrider-Fox. “Right now, you do not have car wash listed as an accessory use to a convenience store. Right now, in my opinion if they had the car wash and convenience store with gas pumps you’d have two permitted principle uses on a lot. And you are supposed to just have one.”

“As of right now I think you have a problem with your zoning code with respect to the specific request before you,” said Ms. Schrider-Fox, adding that council’s decision to table consideration of revised final site plans will allow time for review. “That will give us more time for me to review with town council ‘principle versus accessory’ use issues in the code.”

Michael Riemann, an engineer with Becker Morgan Group, presents plans for a car wash at the Royal Farms’ DuPont Boulevard location to Millsboro town council.

“So, you are suggesting that a car wash is a permitted use?” Mr. Reimann asked

“It is a permitted in this district. The Royal Farms store is also a permitted use. But they are considered a principle use. You can’t have more than one on each lot,” Ms. Schrider-Fox explained.

“I guess I would argue that we are a convenience store facility that offers convenience. Royal Farms sells lots of different elements. To me it’s in terms of being able to get your car washed after fueling,” Mr, Riemann said.

“I haven’t seen another community that actually breaks out specifically car washes as an accessory structure,” said Kyle Gulbronson, the town’s consultant with AECOM.

“I think that is what is still being determined by the town solicitor is: Can it fall under one umbrella as a convenience store or does it have to be listed as an accessory use?” said Millsboro Town Manager Sheldon Hudson. “If so, it sounds to me like it would need to be added as a permitted accessory use and therefore the zoning code would have to be changed.”

Town councilman Larry Gum asked about the reason for Royal Farms’ somewhat sudden request to add a car wash.

“My concern was that the initial building plan did not have one on it. I was wondering what changed your mind to add it that causes all of this confusion,” said Mr. Gum.

“I think probably just changes in the market place and changes in how Royal Farms is operating its business. One of the newer things they have offered is discounted fuel prices with the car wash purchase. I am assuming that they have seen some positive benefit to that,” said Mr. Riemann.

“On the positive side of it I do like the look of Royal Farms. I think it is outstanding,” Mr. Gum said.

There were concerns about architectural design and aesthetic appearance of the proposed car wash. It was noted by council and staff that some car washes look “ugly” and “scummy,” particularly those with clear plexiglass-type material.

“This is a nice area out there. It is growing,” said Mr. Gum.

“Really, Royal Farms architecture has really come a long way. It has advanced,” said Mr. Riemann. “Car wash design is why the folks at corporate have come up with a new plan that the two look like they belong together instead of separate.”

“This is a new prototype car wash, different than the ones you may have seen at the older locations,” said Mr. Riemann. “It is not – I repeat – not a plexiglass thing.”

The proposed car wash measures 1,248 square feet and would be located at the rear of the property. It would have a recycling system through which the water is collected, filtered and recycled, which minimizes the amount of water usage, Mr. Riemann said.

Mid Atlantic Animal Hospital

Council approved final site plans Mid Atlantic Animal Hospital.

The facility is planned at 28394 DuPont Boulevard at the intersection with Delaware Avenue. The property is better known locally as the old McDonald’s restaurant property.

Plans for the animal hospital include a 3,000-square-foot structure with five-foot wide concrete sidewalks surrounding the building for access.

Seven new light poles are being propose as a significant upgrade in safety, said Julian Pelligrini of the Pelsa Company.

Sidewalks are also planned along DuPont Boulevard but DelDOT is not requiring sidewalks along Delaware Avenue, which was discussed as a possible consideration briefly by council.

“It sounds like a sidewalk to nowhere. It’s going to a field,” said Mr. Gum. “Apparently DelDOT reviewed it and didn’t think it was necessary. I’d hate to see them put the cost in for the sidewalk, which is a dead end.”

“That soybean field can never be sold,” said Mayor Thoroughgood.

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at grolfe@newszap.com

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