Millville to add Dollar General, new traffic light

Millville will be looking quite different soon, with a Dollar General to be located off of Route 26.

At their Tuesday meeting, the Millville Town Council approved Dollar General’s final site plan. The property will be located on Atlantic Avenue, across from the Millville Pet Shop, on a lot that currently houses two ranch homes.

In October 2011, Town Manager Debbie Botchie said that Dollar General was possibly interested in the property, which was already zoned for the use. In June of this year, they met with Planning & Zoning commissioners to review their site plan application. They met with them again in July after specifying materials from the Town’s design standards that they were using.

“We appreciate you considering our site plan for final approval,” said Robert T. Boothe, representing Zaremba Group, on behalf of Dollar General. “We went through a thorough process in meeting your design standards and the painstaking effort of obtaining all agency approvals, and we are ready to go and look forward to gaining your approval.”

Councilman Robert Gordon said his biggest issue was with traffic.

Boothe said he didn’t think the store would “generate any traffic that isn’t already there.”

“Sure, some movements will be different, but any concerns have been addressed with DelDOT, and we have contributed major funds for a traffic light there — the ball is in their court.”

Robert Stronsky, senior designer with Landmark JCM, who designed the project, said there are three exit lanes planned only because their tractor-trailer — which will deliver to the store once per week — needs all 32 feet and not because “there will be a ton of traffic leaving at one point.”

“We could have narrowed it, but the truck needs it to make the turn,” he said.

Councilwoman Joan Bennett said the traffic issue was with DelDOT — “Coulda, shoulda, woulda.”

“Although the left turn out of there gives me a little chill, they issued the final entrance permit. Since they have given their approval, it is what it is.”

Stronsky said they actually had initially planned the entrance farther down the road but DelDOT “forced it to be at an intersection with Whites Neck Road. It was going to be in a different place.”

Town Solicitor Seth Thompson piggybacked on Bennett’s comments. “She’s right, and to the extent that the applicant meets our [site plan] requirements, that’s what we control.”

The council voted 4-1 to approve the plan, with Gordon dissenting.

On Aug. 14, the council also tabled a discussion of a proposed agreement between the Town and DelDOT, concerning Route 26 from Clarksville to the Assawoman Canal, and the Route 26 Mainline improvements project. The agreement governs DelDOT’s taking of the right-of-way necessary to construct improvements to Route 26.

Council members decided they would rather see two different documents: a general one governing the State gaining permission for any rights-of-way within the town and one pertaining to the land they actually own in front of town hall.

Several council members expressed discontent with how the “blanket” agreement was worded and expressed a desire to have two separate documents and to be able to more clearly spell out things such as an appraisal, as defined by code, and compensation. Botchie said DelDOT had done an appraisal and was to the deed/affadavit part of the process when it was noticed that the documents stated that the land in front of town hall and a portion farther down the street was “donated” by Millville, which was incorrect.

“That’s why we must do this as tightly as possible,” said Bennett, expressing severe reservations about going into the agreement as written. The council as a whole decided they would take the subject up again at the Aug. 28 workshop, before taking action.

In other news:

• The town council approved an ordinance amending Chapter 155, Sign Regulations, and approved an ordinance addressing who has the authority to sign contracts.

• Resident Ron Watts asked if the council couldn’t look into state police coverage for Cedar Drive, as he said there is a continual problem with speeders. Botchie said she would look into solutions involving signs, as there is a speed limit sign posted on one end of the road but not the other and it is frequented by school-aged children and pedestrians. Mayor Gerry Hocker said they would also ask for additional state police coverage.