MILLSBORO — In early September, Town Council approved rezoning for a chunk of land in the third and final piece of Plantation Lakes — a large and still-growing community that, at maximum buildout, would include 2,494 homes.
Following a discussion about pedestrian safety and amenities at its Monday meeting, council then approved a revised residential planned community proposal — RPC 06 — that offers more integrated options in the community’s South Shore, on the southern side of Del. 24.
Attorney David Hutt, representing Lennar, the construction company for Plantation Lakes, said the goal was to provide “one homogeneous zoning classification” across all areas south of Del. 24.
With RPC 05, Lennar had a building plan for South Shore that offered two home choices — 446 18-foot town homes and 307 single-family detached homes.
RPC 06 — allowable with the rezoning of an annexed portion of the South Shore property from medium-density residential to high-density residential — has the same number of total units in its plan, 753. Broken down, its footprint is 252 18-foot town homes, 140 22-foot town homes, 164 30-foot villas and 197 single-family detached homes (on 52-by-120-foot lots).
Councilman Larry Gum said his preference would be for all single-family homes.
“I’d like to have seen it all like that. But obviously, you wouldn’t build it if they didn’t buy it,” he said. “I do like this better than the original.”
Matt Wineman, Lennar’s vice president, said spreading out the zoning made it a “much more homogenous plan” — more thoughtful and family-friendly, with a variety of town homes, villas and single-family residences.
RPC 06 allows for these different homes throughout the development, which will have amenities, including a pool, additional open space and larger buffers.
Additionally, RPC 06 has 412 more parking spaces than RPC 05, plus a 32% increase in visitor parking, Mr. Wineman said.
Plantation Lakes’ north and central sections currently have approximately 1,300 homes, with more to come.
Of major concern at Monday’s meeting was pedestrian safety at the proposed main entrance to South Shore, across from the front entry to the Plantation Lakes community, which includes an 18-hole public golf course, tennis courts, walking trails and The Landing Bar & Grille.
Proposed by Lennar is a high-intensity activated crosswalk (HAWK) signal, a device used to assist in safely crossing busy roads. HAWK would aid pedestrians going across state-maintained Del. 24.
Mr. Wineman said the HAWK signal would be used in place of a traffic light. “It’s a flashing yellow light that you see at many intersections,” he said.
But, he added, approval is still needed from the Delaware Department of Transportation.
“What we have committed to is to pursue that process, and we know we have a partner in the town to go with us to DelDOT. And that is always very helpful and influential with DelDOT, to have the municipality itself there.”
Vice Mayor Tim Hodges agreed that a safety system is needed but wanted assurance that town taxpayers won’t get stuck with that bill.
“You know DelDOT, they have another idea every time you talk to them. So if they come up with something else, and this costs $100,000, and that one costs $200,000, who is going to pay the $200,000?” he said. “I don’t want to see the people of the town of Millsboro footing the bill for paying any extra cost that might entail.”
Mayor Michelle Truitt said she has received inquiries about a pool and other amenities in South Shore. It was because of those questions that council put off its vote on the RPC and development agreement amendment at September’s council meeting.
Mr. Wineman said plans do include a pool. He also added that pickleball appears to be more popular than tennis.
Councilman Ron O’Neal inquired about a community center.
Mr. Wineman said, “Yes, there is a building. It is not designed yet. So we haven’t decided what type of building will be there. But there will be some sort of building. We need at least bathrooms there. It’s really the bathrooms. It’s the exercise equipment, the little things that people want right there.”
Vice Mayor Hodges thanked the designers for including the pool, adding that he feels amenities need to be comparable to other sections of Plantation Lakes.
In response to Councilman Gum’s inquiry about a start date for South Shore, Mr. Wineman said it would be a couple years down the road.
“A year of engineering and a year of development,” he said. “So we’re probably two years out from building homes.”