Millville P&Z recommends approval for apartments next to Beebe

Millville’s Planning & Zoning Commission has voted to recommend that the Millville Town Council approve a 216-unit apartment complex on a site next to the Beebe Healthcare South Coastal now under construction on Route 17.

The commission gave its blessing on Jan. 9 to the application for preliminary site-plan approval for the as-yet-unnamed project, located on nearly 33 acres just north of the new health facility.

If approved by the town council, the complex will include nine buildings, each of which will include six one-bedroom apartments, 12 two-bedroom apartments and six three-bedroom apartments.

The commission approved developer Ocean Atlantic Companies’ request for a reduction in the required number of parking spaces for the apartments.

“We feel the parking requirement is too large for a project of this size,” said Greg Tobias of Ocean Atlantic.

He pointed to Sussex County’s parking requirements, which would allow the developer to provide fewer spots. The County’s three-tiered system, he said, would allow for 20 percent fewer spots than the project’s original plans included, or 51 fewer spots.

Tobias said that, given industry statistics showing that apartment complexes are normally about 90 percent occupied, and that Ocean Atlantic wants to reduce the impervious surfaces involved in the complex, the lower number of parking spots is reasonable.

Town Engineer Andrew Lyons Jr. recommended a 10 percent reduction in the parking requirement. Ring Lardner of Davis, Bowen & Friedel, the project’s engineering firm, said, “We can make 10 percent work.”

Planning & Zoning Commissioner Glen Faden said, “My concern is I don’t think there is a lot of rental space in Millville. I think it’ll fill up,” he said of the complex. Pointing to the new emergency medical and cancer-care facility being built next to the planned apartments, and other businesses, Faden said, “A lot of the people that work in these businesses come from a long way away.”

 

By Kerin Magill
Staff Reporter