MILFORD, Del.- East Gate Farm in Milford won't become an office complex anytime soon.
On Tuesday, the Sussex County Council voted 5-0 to deny the property's request to rezone from a AR-1 (Agricultural Residential), into B-1 (Neighborhood Business District). Neighbors in the area had long fought the project, claiming it was out of character.
"There is plenty of room with what's already next to the hospital for development," says Frank Soucek. "It's really unnecessary duplication."
Soucek and others previously told WBOC the development would bring traffic and open the floodgates for future development east of Route One. But East Gate Farm's attorney Dennis Schraeder says the owner planned to commercialize the property so it would be in line with the incoming Bayhealth Health Campus.
"His plan was to put in offices, perhaps a drug store," he tells WBOC. "Things that would be typically associated with a hospital that people would need and that would be a convenience to the people who are patients or the family members of patients."
Schrader says his client may choose to sell the property, leave it as is, or appeal the council's decision. Many of the property's neighbors say they believe development is inevitable and that Tuesday's decision will let that development proceed in a manageable way.
"Council's decision this morning makes it possible and makes time to have thoughtful research and planning so that any new development can be compatible with the established neighborhoods already here," says Larry Trombello.