Millsboro OKs DuPont Plaza site plans with parking lot contingency

MILLSBORO – Subdivision approval of property along DuPont Boulevard is paving the way for DuPont Plaza.

At the podium, Will Kernodle of Parker & Associates speaks with Millsboro town councilman Tim Hodges on final site plans for the DuPont Plaza strip shopping center.

Millsboro town council at its Oct. 2 meeting approved – with contingency – final site plans for DuPont Plaza, a three-tenant strip center along U.S. 113.

The plaza, located next to the Farmers Bank of Willards, will feature a Sherwin Williams paint store and potentially a Starbucks coffee shop with a drive-thru feature.

Will Kernodle, engineering department manager for Parker & Associates, said Starbucks, identified in final site plans as tenant No. 3, is pending approval “and how quickly we can get them in there.” There is no retail tenant at present for the second rental space, Mr. Kernodle said.

Council’s final site approval is contingent on a proposed change in town zoning code pertaining to parking lot coverage. A recommendation to increase the maximum parking lot coverage from 30 percent to 50 percent is among the proposed changes that will be packaged in a public hearing in November.

Millsboro Town Manager Sheldon Hudson said a variance will be needed if the recommended zoning code changes are not approved at the time of the public hearing.

“Basically, lot coverage right now is limited to 30 percent of parking lot coverage. The proposed zoning code change would take that to 50 percent. You are 42 (percent) now?” said Mr. Hudson.

“Forty-two,” responded Mr. Kernodle.

“If at the public hearing in November the change is made to change the parking lot coverage to 50 percent in highway commercial a variance will not be required,” said Mr. Hudson.

“We are going to a submit a check for a variance. If you guys don’t vote for it, then we will go forward with the variance meeting,” said M. Kernodle.

“Just as a side note,” said Kyle Gulbronson of  AECOM, the town’s consultant firm.  “You have probably realized there is a trend that almost every commercial project that has come before you in the last couple of years has needed a variance for parking lot coverage. Thirty percent is very limiting. That is the reason behind the recommended change. Thirty percent is such a small percentage.”

The proposed 50-percent parking lot coverage would encompass all zoning districts.

DuPont Plaza was one of four parcels created with council’s subdivision approval of property owned by Ezra Rickards.

Lot 1 is the site of the Farmers Bank of Willards, which is well under construction. Lot 3 is earmarked for a Tractor Supply store, but those plans have encountered a cross-access easement roadblock. Lot 4 is undefined at present.

“We have submitted plans conceptually for the Tractor Supply. But that is on hold now because it’s more contingent on that cross-access easement.  Tractor Supply will not come without that cross access,” said Mr. Kernodle.

Council asked about the sticking point securing the access easement from owners of the property that includes BJ’s Shopping Center.

“Money; it’s all about money,” said Mr. Kernodle. “They have requested $50,000 per year payment from the landowner.”

Councilman Tim Hodges, who was adamant about the cross-access, suggested council ask town solicitor Mary Schrider-Fox to see what avenues the town may have to assist getting the cross easement.

Mr. Hudson added that the town “has weighed in” in voicing its insistence and support for a cross-access easement.

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

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