Mountaire to build corporate offices at Millsboro complex

The Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission voted unanimously this week to approve the preliminary site plan for Mountaire Farms’ planned corporate offices near Millsboro.

The company plans to build a 45,248-square-foot corporate headquarters building at Maryland Camp Road and John J. Williams Highway, at its current complex east of Millsboro.

At the time of the July 9 P&Z meeting, the County’s Planning & Zoning office had secured approval from the Delaware Department of Transportation but were waiting other agency approvals.

On April 14, Mountaire had withdrawn a conditional-use application for a proposed office facility west of Millsboro, located between Revel and Hudson roads, following concerns vocalized by neighboring residents.

The new facility would be a workplace for Mountaire employees who had previously worked out of an office building in Selbyville that had to be torn down and others who have worked at offices in Millsboro that were originally built as a hatchery. Parking for the new building would be located in the front yard.

The current complex is zoned HI-1, heavy industrial, and does not require a change of zoning for the addition of the new office building.

During the hearing, the commission noted plans for a future addition at the plant, as well as site improvements along John J. Williams Highway and Maryland Camp Road.

Greg Esham, a project engineer for Mountaire, clarified that what was delineated as the future processing building is actually the site’s hatchery.

“Two years ago, we put an addition on the hatchery on the east side. Our plans are within the next coming year to add on to the other end. It’s not anything to do with chicken processing — it’s the hatchery.”

Esham noted that the equipment in the existing building is outdated and needs to be replaced.

“It’s really old. It was built back in Townsend’s days, back in the early ’80s. So, it’s simpler to build a building, have new equipment, than build the existing building out.”

He added that the new corporate building would take about a year to be built.

The commission unanimously approved the application for preliminary site plan, with the final site plan approval subject to approval by Planning & Zoning staff following receipt of all other approvals.