Middletown Approves Changes To Existing Development Plans

The Middletown mayor and council met on Monday, June 4 and entertained permit requests as well as holding public hearings on revisions to some already approved development projects.

Middletown Police Chief Michael Iglio began by highlighting some cases they are investigating. Chief Iglio identified Raymond Stoner as the suspect in the May 6 robbery at the Living Well Pharmacy. An arrest warrant for Stoner has been issued but his whereabouts are unknown. Chief Iglio also said an arrest has been made in after break-ins at Hong Kong Restaurant and DiNapoli Pizza and an arrest was made on May 30 in the January 17 shooting on East Lockwood Street.

Daneya Jacobs of Middletown Main Street suggested making changes to the Christmas Parade by having it in the evening to coincide with the tree lighting. Some on the council liked the idea and Mayor Ken Branner suggested she bring the request in writing for the council to vote on. Also, Trish Booth representing Middletown businesses requested permission for a town wide yard sale and again Mayor Branner suggested she write up a proposal for the council to vote on. Booth also inquired about a public assembly request to combine the Christmas Tree Lighting with the parade and Vice Mayor James Reynolds suggested this be handled through Middletown Main Street. Booth also asked for a request for BBQ event with line dancing on Cochran Square in July and Mayor Branner said that the town likes to reserve Cochran Square for special events a few times a year and did not feel that this event fits with what Cochran Square should be used for. It was suggested that the event be moved to a nearby location such as at Church on Main and Mayor Branner again suggested Booth write up a formal permit request and bring it to the council.

New Castle County Council candidate David Carter requested a permit for a campaign event at Cochran Square on June 23 and said the event would run from 11am to 12:30pm and would have a pop-up tent, a small PA system and perhaps live music. After the previous discussion about the use of Cochran Square, Mayor Branner suggested that Carter hold the event outside Town Hall rather than at Cochran Square and Carter was amenable to the idea. The council approved the permit.

During the public hearings section of the meeting, a conditional use permit request from Island Girl Crab Company for live crab sales at Diamond Town Tire Pros at Summit Bridge Road was tabled.

The council heard from Mark Dunkle representing the developer of the mixed-use residential and retail development at Middletown Crossing where he presented plans for a landscaping berm, water drainage issues and a count of weekend traffic requested by both the town and nearby residents. Dunkle said the berm would be at least six feet high with evergreen plantings of 6 to 8 feet to give a total of about 14 feet to shield residents’ view of the parking garage. Dunkle showed pictures of water ponding on the road which he says that will go away after the development work. Dunkle also said their study of weekend traffic showed that traffic is worse on Saturday mornings but the development’s traffic impact is half of the previously approved big box store at the site. Several audience members expressed concern about the impact of the development, especially on traffic, and Mayor Branner highlighted the improvements to Rt. 299 that will begin after the Rt. 301 Mainline Project is done in December 2018. Branner also highlighted future road improvements the town is planning and also said the town is comfortable working with the property developers. When asked by an audience member about changing the town’s comprehensive plan to reduce density, Branner said that the town cannot change what is currently planned as the developers can develop the property by right. The council unanimously passed the plan improvements.

Rick Woodin of Woodin and Associates reprenting Louis Capano sought final approval of the apartment complex at the Westtown Business Park and was unanimously passed with little discussion.

Julian Pelligrini, representing the developer of the planned Perkins Restaurant next to the Royal Farms on Middletown Warwick Road sought approval of changes to their plan which include a smaller building, due to the developer not building in office space, as well as an open trash dumpster with raised walls around it to protect from the wind. Also, the official address will now be 860 Middletown Warwick Road instead of 870. The changes were unanimously passed by the council.                     

In other business, the town introduced an ordinance for Illicit Discharge and Detection and Elimination; tabled a resolution in support of HB 395 allowing municipalities to impose and collect a lodging tax due to the house bill being dropped. The town also tabled a construction agreement for Main Street and Broad Street Crosswalks Restoration upon the recommendation of Town Manager Morris Deputy. The town moved to ratify a lease agreement with Delaware Technical and Community College as they are using space in the Armory Building for diesel mechanic classes. This motion was praised by various members of the audience. The town also ratified an Electric Service agreement with Johnson Controls.

Finally, Vice Mayor James Reynolds reminded residents that the town’s fireworks will be on July 4th again this year.

Photo credit: Keith Thompson   

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