December 3, 2021
A Maryland-based developer is proposing that Milton annex 50 acres of land on Harbeson Road that would then be turned into a 163-unit housing development called Scarlet Oaks.
Milton Town Council will discuss the annexation petition at its 6:30 p.m. meeting, Monday, Dec. 6, at Milton library. Council will likely assign the petition to the three-member special review committee, which will hold meetings weighing the pros and cons of the annexation, and provide a cost-benefit analysis.
Ribera Development, based in Millersville, Md., is proposing to develop the parcel, which fronts on Harbeson Road across from Mariner Middle School and backs up to Shingle Point Road, as single-family residential home lots. The land is owned by The Company Store, an LLC based out of Charlotte, N.C., according to Sussex County tax records.
In its annexation petition filed with the town, Ribera is asking the property to be zoned as R-1 residential with a large-parcel development overlay, which allows for additional flexibility in terms of home design, setbacks, pedestrian access and potential light commercial uses. Ribera is planning to have both single-family attached and detached homes, a clubhouse and recreation area, and walking paths. Buffers are planned along the perimeter of Harbeson Road and Shingle Point Road.
In its submission to the town, Ribera said, “Our request is in keeping with the town’s future land-use map and provides for the smart growth of the town by being situated in an area that will help with contiguous land-use growth for other parcels that will expand the Milton community.”
This would be the fourth annexation proposal the town has taken up in the last two years. The burst of annexation requests stems from 2018, when the town sought to encourage more annexations in order to expand its tax base. In 2018, the town’s annexation fees were changed from a $400 application fee and $8,000 fee per acre to a $4,000 application fee and $5,000 held in escrow to cover professional fees.
Since then, the town has annexed two parcels: 26 acres at Route 16 and Country Road planned for the proposed Cypress Grove development, and 7 acres at the corner of Route 16 and Union Street Extended, which will be used for a Royal Farms convenience store and gas station along with a commercial complex. A third annexation, for 450 acres on Sand Hill Road to be built as a 1,350-unit development known as The Granary at Draper Farm, was given approval by the special review committee and its proposed zoning approved by the planning and zoning commission, leaving only Milton Town Council left to approve the annexation.