Millville changes its application process

At a Tuesday council meeting, Millville officials addressed some issues with their subdivision application process and amended the ordinance. Previously, the town charged developers an application fee based on the number of lots on a subdivision.

But condominium complexes going through the pipeline in the town unveiled a problem with that process. Such a complex might be on only one lot and town officials would only be able to charge the developer of the complex for one lot rather than charging for the amount of units.

“It just wasn’t fair for everyone,” said town Mayor Gary Willey, adding that the town charges developers an application fee for each single-family home erected but couldn’t charge for each condominium. “The change would be to make it fair. It’s just changing some wordage to protect the town.”

With the change, the town will charge developers application fees for each “lot, site or unit.” For an application to build more than two but less than 11 units, the town charges $25 each. The fee rises to $450 each when a developer submits an application to build more than 11 units, including — with the amended ordinance — condominiums, townhouses or apartments.

With another change which was approved at Tuesday’s meeting, the town will receive 20 percent of the application fee when a developer submits an application — rather than receiving the total at final approval — to help pay for immediate costs involved with the hearing process.

Since January, town officials have spent about $32,000 paying for consultants in the development process because of the current amount of development in the town.

“We can’t continue down that path,” Willey said. “It’s not fair for the townspeople to have to pay that.”

With the change, town officials will subtract the 20 percent paid after the developer filed an application from the final total, the rest of which will still be paid upon final approval.

Kyle Gulbronson — Millville’s land planner, working with the URS corporation — said that the change provides a process that is business-as-usual for most towns in the area.

“Their application fees can be substantial for a big development. That’s why they’re looking to collect some of it up front,” Gulbronson said, adding that receiving the funding up front will help immediately pay for the consultants, such as him. “Most of the time those fees are collected when the application is submitted.”

Readdressing approved by town council

Although “old town” Millville homes along Route 26 will not be subject to new county 911-friendly five-digit addressing, homes south of the main strip might. Town council voted unanimously on Tuesday to allow the county to address all new development in the town and those other homes might be readdressed.

There are abut 3,000 homes going through the pipeline in Millville and addressing all of those homes would be far too big a task for the town’s small staff, Willey said.

“That’s a lot of man hours,” Willey said. “Sussex County has agreed to do it and they’ll do it for free.”

Once the town’s addresses are on the county-wide map, that updated map is sent to the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in Georgetown, where it is used to screen calls. When a 911 call is dialed from a filed address, a light will show the exact location of the house with the emergency. Callers don’t have to give directions or even be able to talk in that circumstance.

It allows for more speedy response times, said Joe Thomas, director of the Sussex County EOC, because the dispatcher will forward the exact location of the house to emergency personnel rather than relaying directions. All addresses from the “old town” are already in the system, Willey said, adding that the town sent them to the county about two years ago.

Centennial plan moving along

With regular committee spokesperson Kami Banks out of town on Tuesday, Mark Reeve — another committee member — updated the town on May 20 centennial celebration plans.

Reeve said that he expected no less than 750 people to show up to celebrate the town’s 100th birthday party, and that DelDOT had agreed to let the town shut down the portion of Route 26 for the parade, which starts at 1 p.m. and will end with a party at the fire hall.

The committee is currently sending letters to parade participants and looking for volunteers to work the event. Call town hall at 539-0449 to volunteer.

“We are very appreciative of the fire department and the ladies’ auxiliary,” Reeve said. “It’s going to be a wonderful event.”