The Milford City Council will begin working on its first-ever official ethics code next month, Mayor Dan Marabello announced at the body’s Dec. 22 meeting.


The Milford City Council will begin working on its first-ever official ethics code next month, Mayor Dan Marabello announced at the body’s Dec. 22 meeting.

“I think the time is right for this,” Marabello said.

Marabello brought up the possibility of an ethics code during his campaign for mayor, and Lincoln resident Spyro Stamat called for one during the debates over a new landlords’ fee last month.

Marabello included a magazine article on the purpose and logic behind government ethics codes in the information packet distributed before Monday’s meeting. After a brief discussion, the council directed City Solicitor Tim Willard to examine ethics codes used by other local governments in Delaware, and to report back before the Jan. 26 meeting.

Earlier in the night, the council voted 6-2 to deny an application to split a 1.35-acre lot near South Walnut Street into four parcels, with plans for a single-family home on each one.

Rick and Carol Sherwood, whose home would have been next door to the subdivision, argued against it. They pointed to the introduction of more traffic on East Clarke Avenue, a small, one-way street, and to the design of the homes, which didn’t seem to leave much room for parking.

Most important for them personally, was the fact that the road servicing the new houses would run just 10 feet from the wall of his home.

“It’s dangerous,” Rick said.

Architect Robert Nash said moving the road was necessary for the new lots to meet the city’s requirements for size.

“It’s how we had to end up to get the 10,000-square-foot lots,” Nash said.

City Planner Gary Norris said running the road that close to the Sherwoods’ property wouldn’t violate any of their rights under city law.

According to Norris, the Sherwoods’ home was already closer to the neighboring property than the city would normally allow, and his development wouldn’t have put it any

Council members Irvin Ambrose, John Workman, Mike Spillane, James Oeschler, Owen Brooks and Jim Starling voted against the project. Doug Morrow and Katrina Wilson voted for it.

“It’s very small – it’s going to be squashed in between these two properties…I don’t think it’s a good idea,” Ambrose said.

Workman based his vote on how the new homes would affect their neighbors’ standard of living.

“Why would we put a family that’s already lived there for yeas in jeopardy for a new development?” he said.

“I don’t think it’s fair.”

Wilson argued that the new houses would have been good for the community, and that the proposal didn’t run afoul of any city regulations.

“It’s a blend of old and new…new development mixed with old developments,” she said. “That’s what keeps your neighborhoods alive.”

The council approved an application to rezone a 9.6-acre lot on Masten Circle from a mix of R-3 residential and I-1 industrial to pure I-1. Representatives of developer West Milford Enterprises LLC said all of their plans for the property, including medical offices and a daycare center, would be covered under I-1.

In the last vote of the night, the council unanimously approved five budget amendments totaling $68,221.23: $16,021.43 to complete the city’s share of construction on recreational areas near the new Boys & Girls Club; $2,206 for work at the Tenth Street water plant; $3,000 for work on the emergency generator at the Seabury Avenue water plant; $23,160 for engineering to prepare for the Northeast Front Street streetscape project approved earlier this month; and $23,833.80 for unforeseen road repairs that came up during a routine resurfacing project.

The meeting ended with an executive session that included discussion of land purchases and of at least one pending lawsuit involving the city. No further details were available as of the Beacon’s press time.