Millsboro OKs Texas Roadhouse preliminary plans

MILLSBORO — Town of Millsboro leaders Monday formally welcomed Texas Roadhouse, approving a preliminary site plan – with contingencies – for a proposed western-themed steakhouse restaurant that would be sandwiched between the existing Taco Bell and a proposed Grotto Pizza in Peninsula Crossing.

“Welcome to Millsboro, Texas Roadhouse,” said Millsboro Mayor Michelle Truitt. “We hope we can get everything worked out and we have a great partnership.”

Contingency hurdles to be addressed include follow-up correspondence from Duffield Associates and a review by Kenny Niblett, Millsboro’s public works director, of town code regarding the proposed triple entrance/exit access to Commerce Drive in preliminary plans presented by Jillian Janovsky of GreenbergFarrow, an engineering/architectural firm.

Plans as presented by Ms. Janovsky call for a 7,570-square-foot restaurant in Peninsula Crossing Shopping Center, which is zoned highway commercial. Plans include 121 parking spaces. It includes, at present, one cross-section access linking to Grotto Pizza.

Town council’s 7-0 approval followed more than a half-hour presentation/discussion, punctuated by the initial recommendation from Carrie Kruger of Duffield Associates to not grant approval and that plans be revised and resubmitted.

Duffield Associates, in its letter to the town upon its review of 25 pages of plans, cited the number of comments and typographical errors in plans that Ms. Kruger labeled “extensive.”

“There were so many typographic errors in those notes that we could not even review whether those were in compliance,” said Ms. Kruger. “And because of that, we did not recommend approval tonight. We did recommend that the plans revised and resubmitted. That was our recommendation.”

Ms. Janovsky said those issues are being addressed by the GreenbergFarrow team.

Millsboro Town Manager Sheldon Hudson pointed out that GreenbergFarrow’s submission of plans went far beyond the scope required in the initial preliminary-site plan stage.

“You really exceeded the submission requirements. In a sense, that might generate more comments,” said Mr. Hudson.

“Yes, we submitted every single phase …,” said Ms. Janovsky.

Ms. Kruger subsequently acknowledged that “the title of the plans was misleading, and I will certainly take that into consideration in the future, and which of the sheets in the set get reviewed for what council needs,” said Ms. Kruger. Plans submitted by GreenbergFarrow “are more typical of a full construction set,” she said.

Ms. Kruger added if the council wished to vote on the submission, it would be contingent upon addressing those comments related to the preliminary plans.

“If the town council would like to consider approving just the site layout plan, I would just say that the entrance and exit drive, they don’t really meet the code of the town of Millsboro, which only allows two entrance and exit drives on the same street,” said Ms. Kruger. “This is three. It is not a minimum of 75 feet.”

She added it may require a variance.

Mr. Niblett said he would get back with Ms. Janovsky concerning the proposed three accesses along Commerce Drive. “I’m going to look to determine if that section of the code specially applies to town streets or if they are privately owned roads,” he said.

Based on the volume of information provided by the engineer and “in light of Ms. Kruger’s comments and Mr. Niblett’s comments,” councilman Tim Hodges motioned to approve the preliminary site plan, contingent upon the “appropriate comments” Ms. Kruger is putting together “regarding preliminary issues only” – and contingent upon Mr. Niblett’s “review of the three entrances in the back … and the possible potential second cross-access easement.”

Ms. Janovsky said the design concept for three entrance/exit access points was to better match the current flow along Commerce Drive.

Mr. Hodges said he believes a third entrance/exit access to Commerce Drive might actually be more beneficial as it would allow maintained flow and prevent congestion.

Since 2004, GreenbergFarrow has worked with Texas Roadhouse, providing architecture, engineering and development services for new and remodel Texas Roadhouse restaurant programs.

Mr. Hudson asked Ms. Janovsky for a comparison of the proposed Millsboro restaurant to other Texas Roadhouse restaurants in the region.

“This is actually their latest footprint,” said Ms. Janovsky. “Recently, at the end of 2019, they upgraded their footprint, so they are slightly larger.”