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Lewes, Delaware
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January 10, 1997     Cape Gazette
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January 10, 1997
 

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I I 12 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, January 10 - January 16, 1997 Rehoboth Main Street 1o( ks at ways to revitalize and preserve character By Trish Vernon Rehoboth Beach Main Street is exploring the possibility of fol- lowing in the City of Dover's footsteps and establish a Business Improvement District (BID) for the downtown commercial area2 Those merchants within the BID would be charged a surtax or fee to help cover the cost of Main Street services, as they are the pri- mary beneficiaries of these ser- vices. It was Rehoboth Main Street Membership Committee Chairman Alan Garey who first broached the possibility of imple- menting a BID and talk of such a surtax is still in its infancy, al- though it was briefly discussed at the Jan. 8 Rehoboth Main Street board meeting, Dover, Garey noted at last month's meeting, is the only city in Delaware to implement the BID, noting the funds derived from the fee or tax is used primar- ily for cleaning and upgrading and to fund Main Street projects. Dover currently raises $50,000 with an average tax of $100 per property and Garey is in the process of gathering more infor- mation on the subject. Such a BID could only be estab- lished by a majority vote by the Rehoboth Beach Board of Com- missioners and the tax collected by the city. Proponents of the BID note that unlike voluntary membership dues and donations, the assess- ment brings fairness to the rev- enue collection in that all property owners who benefit from the pro- gram are equally assessed and no single owner who doesn't join or support such programs as Main Street gets a free ride. In 1994 Gov. Tom Carper signed into law legislation authorizing the forma- tion of municipal business im- provement districts by municipal governments. Rehoboth Beach Main Street President Kathy Kramedas report- ed Jan. 8 that "much more discus- sion is needed to have it fit Re- hoboth" before such an idea is brought before the Board of Com- missioners, along with a data base of information. Main Street has requested access to the city's tax assessment book so that they can download information into their computers on owners of property, assessed value and taxes paid. Main Street officials are also putting out feelers to prominent property owners in the first two blocks of the Rehoboth Beach commercial district. Approxi- mately a dozen of these owners have been invited to attend a meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 15 to discuss problems specific to their interests and to form an advisory group to focus on downtown Re- hoboth Beach. The letter, dated Jan. 2 and signed by Program Director Anne Marie Burnell, states "all property owners are rightfully concerned with the future success of the commercial district. Rehoboth Beach Main Street, as a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, is primarily con- cerned with helping communities retain and expand local business, while improving the appearance, function and image of the town. Your input is essential to the real- ization of these goals in the down- town commercial area." The letter goes on to ask that they bring along information on the amount of property taxes they pay to the city and number of business licenses they have for each property. As of Jan. 9, ac- cording to Kramedas, Main Street has received not a single reply from the dozen property owners. Anthony DePrima, Dover city planner, will be addressing the Rehoboth Beach Historical Soci- ety's annual meeting on Saturday, Jan. 25 and establishment of such a district could be a topic of con- versation, as could the establish- ment of an historic district in Re- hoboth Beach. Rehoboth Beach, with the help of a matching grant from the state, paid $10,000 for a proposed His- toric Preservation Ordinance in 1995, which was shelved while the city worked on adoption of its Long Range Plan this past year. At hearings held on the ordinance, citizens voiced objections about. being included in a district, as while there house may have no historical significance, they would fall under the same restrictions in any renovation and building plans as their neighbors with historical- ly significant structures. There was also concern that the ordi- nance, which would mean the for- mation of a new board to oversee it,'would add an unnecessary and time consuming layer of bureau- cracy to city government. However, interest in adopting some type of ordinance has swelled with the recent or planned demolition of what some perceive to be historically significant build- ings. "It's disturbing," said Richard Darley, former city commissioner and Main Street board member. "Many people want the city to act. Although they aren't seeking a moratorium, they don't want to lose any more buildings." He said that the Historical Society's Bob Salin is working on maps to locate lots which were improved as early as 1910 and the state provided a survey of buildings in the city pri- or to the ordinance being fash- ioned. "Now that we have a Long Range Plan, it's time for the city to do something," Darley said. Kramedas noted that the Plan- ning Commission had sought Main Street's input on the His- toric Preservation Ordinance, as Planning Commission President Mary Campbell is expected to come before the Board of Com- missioners Jan. 10 (tonight) to dis- cuss the need for historic preser- vation. "An historic district is hard to define in Rehoboth - it's not like Dover," Darley admitted, "and trying to get some buildings on the Historic Register is difficult because owners are opposed to all of the rules." Richardson agreed that many people resist this "con- stitutional taking of property." He suggested incentives be offered for businesses and landlords in their designing, redesigning, sig- nage and lighting. "Maybe we could underwrite some of the cost if they conform to our plan. If the incentives are good enough, the city wouldn't need a moratorium." Richardson received general support from fellow board mem- bers on support of incentives rather than legislative restrictions, although they share the concern over losing buildings which could be of historic and aesthetic value. owng,Memory- 00ill Degnan 0.) Beloved Husband, Son and Brother l Dedicated Teacher and Coach Loyal Friend To each person who has reached out in kindness and compassion during this difficult year. Your words and deeds pay the best tribute to the life I - Lewes-Georgetown H - Monday - Saturday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Sunday 12 noon - 5 p.m. 302-856-6365 1-800-893-0307 FleJdble Rnancing A vaiJable Jm  U Bl Better Besche $8o Left facing Motion end table 279 199 Rectagular Motion cocktail table 319 199 Right facing Motion end 279 199 -- All available in washed oak or oiled oak finish -- Besche Bros. Furniture Besche Bros. I Are You Tired of Spilling Soup h Your Lap? Furniture I'00ry A Motion Table Crafted from the fMmOesTtlOmteTd/lsLFd nIredto provide years of CO IkC'tG i;"" i''. i enjyrnent'flnThiehetTreS|ttlmPlnturtat::L'Pgd sedp: lbysSuperShie]d _, Great for mow & game watching too! Bill led and the positive impact he had on the people who knew and R loved him. His spirit remains alive in your hearts. Your goodness has given us comfort and strength in our darkest hours. L .rom the bottom of our hem,'ts ~ [, 'Z'hm,zk yo,: . Jy Degnan and the flaily o1" ill Oegnart