Milford Planning Commission approves daycare next to liquor store

At the Milford Planning Commission’s Tuesday night meeting, the group bid farewell to Sara Pletcher, a member from the second ward who recently moved to Magnolia, and welcomed new member Shelby DiCostanzo of the first ward into its ranks.

The committee gave its blessing to three new projects in town, including the construction of a daycare called the Triumph Youth Center at 350 Milford-Harrington Highway next to a liquor store.

Rob Pierce, Milford’s planning and economic development director, said the city’s zoning code prohibits establishments selling alcohol from locating within 1,000 feet of a school or childcare center.        

“That essentially would prohibit a liquor store from going in next to a daycare,” he said. “It doesn’t preclude or prohibit a daycare from going in within an area within that buffer zone.”

Still, Mr. Pierce stressed that “If the liquor store were to go away for a period of twelve months or more, it would lose that grandfathered, non-conforming status and would not be able to be placed back in that strip center.”

Most of the committee was unconcerned with the proposed daycare’s proximity to a liquor store, instead choosing to ensure that the parking scheme, crosswalks and lighting in the strip mall would make the area safe for small children before approving the project. The sole dissenting voice came from Chairman Marvin Sharp.

“I vote no,” he said. “It’s too close to the liquor store regardless of what the code says.”

The committee also approved two smaller projects near Milford’s historic downtown.

One will be a two-story mixed-use building including a ground-floor commercial space and a second-floor apartment on N Washington Street between 2nd and 4th Streets.

“I’m going to have a two-bedroom apartment upstairs, then downstairs it’s going to be open for light commercial,” said the developer, Jerry Embleton. “It’s just going to be an open floor plan where someone could come in and design it like they want.”

He was “thinking more of an office-type atmosphere, something that’s fairly light traffic,” and wouldn’t bring many pedestrians or a need for extra parking to the area.

On the other side of the Mispillion River, the committee unanimously approved the construction of a duplex at 212 and 214 SE Front Street between Montgomery and Franklin Streets.

“It will put two brand new houses in that area of town, improving the surrounding area,” said Ms. Pletcher.

“It will extend the beautification of the area it’s going to be put in,” said Dwayne Powell, another committee member.

The committee also unanimously approved extensions to two development companies who fell behind in their work on larger-scale residential projects due to COVID-19.

One was Mispillion Landing, a 102-unit townhouse project slated for the corner of NE Front Street and N Rehoboth Boulevard. The other was Cypress Hall, a more expansive 546-unit project planned for S Dupont Boulevard near Shawnee Road

The latter would begin construction with some townhomes and would eventually include many single-family detached dwellings as well.