No housing permits will be issued on section 2 of the Millbrook subdivision until landscaping work has been done on a nearby property, the city of Delaware’s planning commission ruled on Wednesday.
While Millbrook is along Cobblestone Drive, the commission wanted work done on the west side of South Houk Road, adding a condition to Medrock LLC’s request after chairwoman Lisa Keller said she’s complained about the looks of the area since 2008. Keller showed photos she took that day of the corner, an entryway to a portion of the city. The photos showed uncut grass, dandelions, weeds, no mulch or flowers, and a fence that needed painted.
“The reason I’m here is because of extreme dissatisfaction in my neighborhood with the way things were happening with Medrock,” said Keller, who also serves on City Council. “After meeting with some of my neighbors, they said you should run for council, and I did. Those issues haven’t gone away. There’s a lot of concern with how this area has been seemingly forgotten by the developer.
“People come up to me and say, when will someone take care of this area?” Keller continued. “It’s been a source of constant complaint for people who live near me. We’ve complained, written letters, but don’t know what to do.”
Keller asked Ronald Sabatino of Medrock for assistance. Sabatino said he hired a property management company that hired a contractor to maintain the property, and there was a communication problem between the parties. However, he said the buck stopped with him.
Medrock was seeking approval for a final subdivision plat (map) for section 2 of Millbrook, which consists of 40 single-family lots on just over 10 acres between Carson Farms and Lehner Woods. The property is north of Cobblestone, south of Merriston Circle, east of Houk and west of Canal Street. The development dates back to the late 1990s, as Willowbrook Farms. Now the area contains the Adalee Park, Braddington Commons, and Millbrook developments. The final subdivision for section 2 of Millbrook was first approved in 2004 and extended in 2008, but went dormant with the recession. If completed, it would be the last section of the subdivision.
City staff recommended approval of the request, with eight conditions. However, commission member James Halter added a ninth condition: “Within 30 days, all of the mowing and landscaping, including weeding, mulching, painting the fence shall be done on the Medrock property located on the west side of Houk Road and extending west on William Street shall be completed, or no housing permits on the Medrock final subdivision plat will be issued until said work is completed and inspected by the city.”
The commission unanimously approved the request with the added condition by a 7-0 vote.
“All we want to do is have you take care of it, fix it,” Halter said.
“What I know motivates builders is a building permit,” said David Efland, the city’s planning director. “If I say I’m not giving you a building permit until you do A, B and C, that seems to prove to be pretty motivational. We’re going to follow up regardless, on the code enforcement.”