Milford City Council approves 1,167 new units

MILFORD — Monday’s City Council meeting was highlighted by the swearing-in of the mayor and council members, as well as the approval of hundreds of units in two subdivisions.

Mayor Archie Campbell was sworn in for his second term and City Councilman Jason James of Ward 4 was named vice mayor.

Four other council members, including incumbents Michael Boyle of Ward 1 and Katrina Wilson of Ward 4 and newcomers Andy Fulton of Ward 2 and Brian Baer of Ward 3 were also sworn in. There are two council members from every ward. Members serve two-year terms and one member from each ward is up for election every year.

In other action, the council unanimously approved the construction of 1,167 units in two subdivisions on the outskirts of town.

The Milford Ponds subdivision on U.S. 113 south of town, which is already partly developed, would add 768 units, and the new Hickory Glen development on Milford-Harrington Highway by Canterbury Road would have 399.

Prior to the vote, traffic issues were discussed.

Patricia Marney, who lives near Hickory Glen, said she is concerned about the additional vehicles the subdivision’s expansion would bring to Milford-Harrington Highway (Del. 14).

“Over the last 15 years, the traffic has increasingly gotten worse,” she said. “There are frequently times when the traffic (at the light at Canterbury and Holly Hill roads) is backed up to where the proposed turn-in to the development is.”

David Rutt, Milford’s city solicitor, said that as a state road, any changes to Del. 14 would be out of the city’s hands.

The neighborhood’s development company reported that increased traffic in the area has been considered.

“A detailed traffic study was conducted with (the Delaware Department of Transportation) to identify what needed to be done, and those are the improvements that are required as part of the project,” said Phil Tolliver, a representative of Dunn Development LLC.

City Council also heard quarterly presentations from representatives of the Milford Museum and the Milford Public Library, both of which painted a picture of a municipality slowly awakening from its coronavirus slumber.

The Milford Museum opened to the public for its regular hours June 2, said Claudia Leister, the museum’s executive director. She’s put up multiple hand sanitizer dispensers and signs promoting social distancing in the facility. Face masks are mandatory.

“I think we’ve had maybe five out-of-town visitors that were pleased to see an ‘Open’ sign up, so they stopped in,” Ms. Leister said.

“After our last board meeting, we’ve decided we’re going to go ahead with Aug. 22 as our Hippie Fest,” Ms. Leister said. “That is our biggest fundraiser.”

She said the event will be outside, at the Causey Mansion from 4 to 8 p.m.

“There’s lots of space for social distancing there in the backyard.”

Kay Hudson, the director of the Milford Public Library, also reported on reopening.

The library is available for curbside pickup, but it likely won’t open its doors to the public any time soon.

“We’re hoping maybe that by July 15, maybe we can open up the doors, but right now, that’s unlikely because we can’t get the Plexiglas to go around all the counters,” she said.

“We came back to work June 1. We’re working in teams so that if one of us gets (sick) … both teams won’t have to go out.”

Ms. Hudson said the library began its curbside program June 15.

“The first day, we had over 60 patrons pick up items,” she said.

The library has also purchased a book-sterilization machine.

“Every book that’s going to be brought into the library from outside is going to be sterilized before it goes out again,” Ms. Hudson said.

“It’ll do videotapes, it’ll do DVDs. Everything we’ve got in the library will be sanitized.”