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September 26, 1997     Cape Gazette
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September 26, 1997
 

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50 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, September 26 - October 2, 1997 Bus00NE00,;s & REAL ESTATE Developer sees Swann Point as contribution to Milton By Rosanne Pack The idea was literally kicked around council chambers for more than a year; the name was changed in an effort to improve public image, and finally, the dream of River Milton, reborn as Swann Point, prevailed. Now, de- velopers feel that the planned con- dominium community will indeed become a reality. Through the months of meet- ings and public hearings with planning and zoning commission, town council members and resi- dents, Lou deAntonio never gave up on what he sees as an all- around contribution to the Town of Milton. The landowner had a vision of clustered homes built to blend in with the woods and wet- lands on a bluff overlooking the Broadkill River. He saw common- ly shared open spaces and ponds spread over the l0 acres of fast land with wide buffers of wet- lands and woods that would pro- vide privacy for neighboring properties as well habitat for wildlife. It took a lot of reassurance for those who had qualms about 65 housing units occupying land that is now home to deer, rabbits and mourning dove, but many have come to see that the development can be done in an environmentally friendly fashion, and it can be an economic bonus for Milton. "I'm pleased that I can be part of a contribution to Milton," deAntonio said. "State planners are calling for guided growth and retention of open space in future development, and Swarm Point is intended to parallel the goals of 'Shaping Delaware's Future' as outlined by the Committee on State Planning Issues. It's exciting to think that we can be one of the first communities to illustrate how the plan can work." Preservation and economy The landowner said that preser- vation is a key component of the planning for the future, but revi- talizing hearts of towns is also a goal. DeAntonio pointed out that Swann Point will be rural in ap- pearance, but the houses will be within walking distance or a short drive into the main business dis- trict of Milton. He anticipates that homeowners will greatly boost the economy as well as provide a corps of volunteers and activists who will participate in town mat- ters and local organizations. DeAntonio explained that he did research before deciding the direction that he wanted Swann Point to take. Looking at the age range that creates the least impact on the environment and which causes the least stress on town ser- vices, he felt that the development should target retirees. The resident of West Chester, Pa., said that he has only developed single homes in the past and he was very careful in choosing the direction to take with the land he purchased in Sus- sex County. He and his family have been coming to the resort area since he was a child, and over the years, he has come to know and love the beaches and woodlands. He has also seen the direction of growth populations as southern Delaware attracts more and more retirees. Attracting retirees "Retirees are a key. Not only are they an asset to the communi- ty, Swann Point will provide a place for Miltonians to transplant themselves when they are ready to move from their large homes and yards that require high mainte- nance," he said. "Those who are native to the area can stay in their home town and probably better their standard of living after they sell large properties and move into a condominium setting." Ed Harris, president of the Mil- ton Chamber of Commerce, said that he hopes that the population An aerial photo shows the parcel of approximately 16 acres where Swann Point develop- ment will be built in the northeast quadrant of Milton. A large wooded portion of the acreage overlooks the Broadkill River and many acres will be left in their wild state. Located just east of the town dock and Milton Memorial Park, the planned homes will be within walking dis- tance of downtown and many services such as the Hbrary, churches and museums. of Swann Point will help business grow within Milton. He said hav- ing an increase in population of a relatively affluent group located near the center of town should draw attention to the potential for downtown businesses. "I think it's going to be good for the town," Harris said. "Milton is getting a lot of exposure now, so I think that will help the developers and their home owners will in turn help Milton." The 16 acres owned by the deAntonio Group lies in the north- eastern quadrant of town with ac- cess from Atlantic Avenue and Chandler Road. Of the total acreage, six acres are designated as wetlands and will remain unde- veloped; the other 10 will be se- lectively cleared and landscaped for housing and common areas. The Atlantic Avenue access is planned as the main entrance. The Chandler Road access borders Milton Memorial Park and the town boat ramp on the Broadkill. "As we envision it, Swann Point fits so well with the footprint of Milton. The village concept is car- ried over from downtown," he said. "Our preliminary plans show a minimal impact on the environ- ment; we have all our permits for construction in a manner that pre- serves wetlands and open spaces. "For us, it's of paramount im- portance to follow the guidelines of 'Shaping Delaware's Future,' and the message there is 'preser- vation.' That's the importance of the new R-2 zoning that v have." New development, zoning The deAntonio Group original- ly applied for a zoning change from R-I, residential low density to R-3, multi-family, high density residential. Even though it was never the plan to build apartment- style multi-units or to have a uni- form density greater than that of R-l, the desired clustering of houses at Swann Point required a zoning change from the one that would restrict single houses to uniform sized lots. After several hearings, some community out- cry and indications that the zoning change to R-3 would not be ap- proved as requested, the Milton Planning and Zoning Commission took another tack and recom- mended a new zoning designation that would allow for cluster devel- opment but still keep the average density of houses per acre no greater than the R-1 zoning. Linda Rogers, chair of the plan- ning and zoning committee, said that it became obvious that the new zoning designation was need- ed to ready Milton for Delaware's projected growth. Discussing the decision to cre- ate an R-2 zoning earlier this year, Continued on page 52 nance. Finally, determine what your fi- nancial goals are. There are many reasons a home- owner chooses to refinance. Homeowners nearing retirement age, for example, want to pay off their mortgage earlier and usually choose to refinance to a mortgage with a shorter term. Owners strapped for cash may want to reduce monthly payments. Still other owners may want to tap into their homes' equity for tax- deductible cash, while homeown- ers with adjustable-rate mortgages might choose to refinance when interest rates are low, mainly for the security and peace of mind. Now is certainly an attractive time to refinance because rates are so low. But each owner's case is unique and should be reviewed and discussed thoroughly with a financial advisor. Ron Annett is president of the Sussex County Association of Re- altors, one of more than 1,800 lo- cal boards and associations of Re- altors nationwide that comprise the National Association of Real- tors. As the nation's largest trade association, the organization rep- resents nearly 750,000 members involved in all aspects of the real estate industry. For more infor- mation on the Sussex County As- sociation of Realtors, call 855- 2300. With interest rates the lowest they've been in years, many homeowners are wondering if the time is right to refinance their high-interest mortgage loans. If you are currently considering refinancing your home's mort- gage, the following tips are of- fered: Before deciding to refinance, consider three basic aspects: the interest rate, how long you plan to stay in your house, and what you want to accomplish by refinanc- ing. A standard rule of thumb is to refinance if the current mortgage rate is a least 1.5 to 2.5 percentage points below your existing mort- gage rate, because you need a con Ron Annett siderable rate reduction to com- pensate for the expense of refi- REALTOR FOCUS nancing. The costs associated with refi- nancing can include points charged by the lender and fees for appraisal, title and other related services. Another factor to consider when thinking about refinancing is how long you plan to live in your house. Figure out how long it would take to recoup the refinancing costs through the monthly savings from the lower interest rate, and divide the annual payment savings into the total refinancing costs to determine the break-even point. If this point is at least a few years before you think you'll move, you could be in a good position to refi- Lower interest rates mean lower payments