Property owner requests annexation into Millington
MILLINGTON — Freeman Evans appeared before the planning commission here Thursday, Aug. 24, taking the first step in having his 125-acre parcel north of Millington annexed into town.
Accompanied by real estate agent John Carroll, who also is the mayor of Galena, Evans spoke in very general terms. He said he wanted to develop the property in phases, beginning with the 36 acres that are closest to town and zoned Village.
There would be 70 to 90 homes, depending on the lot size and position of open spaces.
Town Administrator Jo Manning told the planners that Evans understood that he would have to absorb some of the costs for water and sewer hookup into the town’s system.
Evans, who said he would return in September with a rough design and a basic concept plan, asked the Millington Planning Commission for direction.
“It needs to be something that I can be proud of,” he said.
Chairman Joyce Morales said the planning commission’s chief concerns were related to green space, the width of streets and lot size. She said the planning commission would look favorably upon bike paths and walking trails and unfavorably upon a cul-desac. Streets should be wide enough to accommodate first responders, Morales said.
Evans, a Kennedyville-area farmer, told the planners that this is his second development. The first, in Chester County, Pa., in 1988-89, was on the “cutting edge” in its use of walking trails and open space, he said.
Planning commission member Maurice “Moe” Morton said the Evans development could be “precedent setting.”
Manning agreed, saying that guidelines require an annexation plan stating what the future development would include.
Evans said the document would answer the question, “What is it you want for the future of the town?” ultimately producing an agreement between Evans and the planning commission.
The remaining 89 acres of the parcel are zoned Rural Character. Carroll said there is no immediate plan for development. “We’ll let the market dictate what it should be long term,” he said.
This is the first request for annexation by an individual since the 249-acre Wick property came into town in 2008.
A couple of years ago the Town of Millington purchased the John Robbins property on the Queen Anne’s County side of the Chester River, using a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to acquire “flood plain property” for an expanded waterfront park. This was a town-generated annexation and not a property owner requesting annexation, Manning said. She said the annexation and property acquisition were part of Millington’s hazard mitigation plan to combat flooding.
Evans purchased the former Coleman farm in 1995. The farm is located behind Kent Mill. It goes west to Carroll Clark Road, north to property owned by Lester Jones & Sons and to the east it abuts a piece of the former Wick property that is now owned by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Manning said when asked to describe the land.
Evans put his request for annexation in a letter dated Aug. 2 to the Millington Mayor and Council, which has the final say.
Morales told Evans that appearing before the planning commission is akin to sitting at a “negotiation table” as an annexation plan is put together. The plan, reached in accordance with the commission, should address such issues as property boundaries, zoning, utility and other infrastructure concerns, the time line for build-out, open space and afforestation. This also is the time to deal with impact fees as they relate to roads, ambulance and fire service, stormwater maintenance, etc.
Once an annexation plan has been drafted and agreed upon, a recommendation to accept and a resolution to adopt would be presented to the mayor and council for introduction.
After that, a public hearing would be held.
Various agencies — including the Kent County Department of Planning, Housing and Zoning, the Maryland Department of Planning, Maryland Environmental Service and Maryland Department of Natural Resource — would be asked for comments and approval.
The final step is for the mayor and council to adopt the resolution of annexation or deny it.
Also at its Aug. 24 meeting, the planning commission directed Manning to send a letter to the Kent County Health Department requesting that it deny an air quality permit for a controlled burn of the former Millington Pizza property. Planners cited their concerns about asbestos and bats roosting in the building at 189 Sassafras St. that is to be demolished to make way for a Dollar General store.
By unanimous vote, the planners approved Dollar General’s master sign application.
Dollar General also received the OK to put up a temporary freestanding sign announcing that it would be “coming soon.” The sign must be taken down within 10 days after the store’s opening.
Seasonal items and sale items may be displayed outside near the entrance, but must be taken in at night.
The planning commission is expected to begin reviewing its sign ordinance next month. Morales asked her colleagues to study the existing definitions and exemptions between now and the September meeting.
She said she would prepare a spreadsheet comparing Millington’s ordinance with those of Betterton, Rock Hall, Chestertown, Galena and Kent County. The plan is to discuss one section of the ordinance at a time to “see what makes sense and works for us,” she said.