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February 8, 2008     Cape Gazette
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February 8, 2008

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Don't let FAR polarize Dewey Beach If we learn nothing from histo- ry, we are doomed to repeat it is important to remember how this topic completely polar- ized Rehoboth Beach. In Rehoboth Beach the FAR [floor- to-area ratio] debate was the "I've got mine" folks against the "I still want mine" folks. At least Rehoboth has many other revenue sources...Dewey Beach does not. The building inspector confirmed at the Feb. 2 planning and zoning commission meeting that there are no homes (including those considered McMansions) that exceed the interim townwide 1.2 FAR. This begs the question why do this at all, but more important- ly why now? There is currently a moratorium in place, a new mora- torium about to be voted on, and now townwide interim 1.2 FAR building restrictions will be requested by the planning and zoning commission this Saturday, Feb. 9, at 9 a.m. As a real estate broker with the only office in town I work with buyers who are considering Dewey Beach as the place to own the home of their dreams. They first look at all the homes that are available. If none are perfect (and they never are) the buyers consid- er how to modify some of the homes, and next they consider tearing down and starting over with others. Sometimes they just keep looking. This process can take a long time. With an interim building restriction in some areas, a moratorium in other areas and the unknown long-term goals, this vote will drastically add to the slowdown in real estate sales and building permit sales in Dewey Beach. We all know some sellers will have to sell, and some buyers will be willing to take a chance. We also know that some building permits will still be needed to maintain some of the properties in town too, but this continued restrictive legislation will hurt the already struggling real estate mar- ket. The impact will last for sever- al years, and it will most assured- lY have a negative effect on prop- erty values. Transfer tax and building per- mits are the town's financial lifeblood, so where will the lost revenue come from, and how many years will the impact of these changes affect? The minutes from the P&Z meeting will show fhat a community member (and a member of the Preserve Dewey Beach PAC) asked the P&Z com- mission if the 1.2 FAR would be more restrictive; the panel, after much pontification, said..."not really." We know now that the "Magic 8 Ball" that is FAR will not prevent the dreaded McMansions, unless the town's plans are to be even more restric- tive later. Here is the point: The town must develop the architectural look that is exclusively Dewey Beach while at the same time maintain individual property rights and property values, and avoid property taxes. The town needs strong transfer tax and building permit income every year. It also needs to improve parking and parking revenue. Dewey Beach property owners, now and in the future, need to know where they stand. In the quiet of winter 2008 Dewey Beach is about to take action against property values. Please attend this Saturday's meeting and help send the 1.2 FAR back to the planning & zoning commis- sion.., unless of course you are not worried about property taxes, property values and parking... Dewey Beach can do better. TJ Redefer, broker CENTURY 21 Rehoboth Bay Realty Co. Dewey Beach Representative thanks Bakers On behalf of the residents of the 41st Representative District, I wanted to take a few minutes to thank Blanche and Raymond Baker. The Bakers recently donat- ed two parcels of land, totaling 954 acres, to Delaware Technical & Community College. The Bakers are lifelong resi- dents of Millsboro and have repeatedly demonstrated their altruism and benevolence to our community. Mrs. Baker is" the daughter of the late U.S. Sen. John J. Williams, who was so known for his honesty and integrity he earned the moniker "The Conscience of the Senate." This latest gift is breathtaking in the scope of its generosity. The property, located just northeast of Trap Pond State Park, is valued at $6.5 million. Under the terms of the gift, Del Tech will sell the property and use the proceeds to establish the Williams & Baker Legacy Endowment. The initial endowment will be preserved in perpetuity and invest- ed. The resulting proceeds will be used to maintain the John and Elsie Williams Conference Center CAPE rI'rE - Friday, February 8 - Monday, February 11, 2008 - 9 and fund projects and initiatlves on Del Tech's Owens Canpus near Georgetown. Even at a nod- est eight percent return, a ;6.5 million endowment would geaer- ate $520,000 annually. Del q'ech has indicated the endown,ent could be used to fund sch(4ar- ships, buy instructional equip rant and invest in new technology. Whatever it is used for, this incredible gift by Blanche and Raymond Baker will help the Owens Campus deal with the increasing popularity of the :du- cational value Del Tech provides. While I'm not aware of lany offers that have been made to pur- l chase the property, I hope Del Tech will select a buyer based, in part, on preserving as much of the land as open space as possible. Through the internet, TV and radio, we are constantly pum- meled by repeated instances of greed and excess. The over- whelming thoughtfulness of the Bakers is as refreshing as it is inspiring. The endowment created by their generous gift will serve as a shining example of Sussex County selflessness for many years to come. Rep. Greg Hastings 41st Representative District Say no to ocean outfall I would encourage Rehoboth and Sussex officials to cooperate in providing a state-of-the-art waste system for Rehoboth. An ocean outfall sewage system should be out of the question. All systems are subject to occasional failure and we do not want the public exposed to sewage spills that could come ashore and sicken them. Why would any official want to involve a third party such as Tidewater that would drive up the costs for the people? 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