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February 21, 2006     Cape Gazette
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February 21, 2006

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-t 12 - CAPE GAZETTE - Tuesday, Feb. 21 - Thursday, Feb. 23, 2006 I I ! By Molly Albertson Cape Gazette staff A mysterious stabbing turned a regular evening at The Lighthouse in Dewey Beach into a violent night, with no suspects and an unclear motive for a stabbing inci- dent. A 28-year-old Milford man was stabbed twice by a group of unknown suspects during last call - shortly before 1 a.m. - Sunday, 19. The victim was walking around the bar toward the exit and was allegedly grabbed by three to five black males, held down on the ground and stabbed in the leg and lower back, according to Dewey Beach Police Department Det. Cliff Dempsey. The victim was thrown against the wall, which was covered with blood, said Dempsey. The back of the victim's head struck the wall. Continued on page 18 Continued from page 1 it business organizations. Hoyte Decker, RBHA treasurer, hinted at a proposition that Stiff quickly supported. "A resolution would offer that the homeowners association is pro-business - not just support the business community, but partner with them," said Stiff. While no resolution was voted upon, the RBHA invited four local business people to speak to the board: Dale Lomas, Crosswinds Motel owner and former president of the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of C.ommerce; local real-estate agent Joe Hill; Joyce Koos, owner of The Bake Shoppe on Rehoboth Avenue; and Jeff Hamer, Fins restaurant owner. Hill and Hamer were unable to attend the meeting with last- minute engagements, said Decker, but I ~mas and Koos were on hand to provide their perspectives. Support moneymakers Lomas, who came tO Rehoboth in 1976, was inlxoduced to down- town Rehoboth's inner workings as a caramel-corn maker at Dolle's. "I stayed there for 20 years. I learned a lot from the old ladies who ran the place," he said, "but Rehoboth has changed so much since 1977." Although still a fledgling con- cept when it comes to year-round sustainability, Rehoboth business- es need to make their money by Sept. 15 to remain viable, Lomas said. The city's forefathers and offi- cials cannot be faulted with the seasonal business cycle or exorbi- tant commercial rents, but they can be faulted with passing restrictive ordinances that hurt businesses, he said. Those ordi- nances should be eased, along with a more supportive attitude toward resort town shops, said Lomas. Lomas bought the Crosswinds Hotel at 312 Rehoboth Ave in 1998. He later wanted to install a swimming pool but quickly found himself encountering citywide red tape, after spending thousands of dollars in his pursuit. Years ago, he said he was told he could build a 5,000-square-foot conference room, but only a 15-by-15-square- foot swimming pool for his 21- unit hotel. "That's a perfect example of a situation where a business person was trying to make a go as a fam- ily business," said Lomas. Because of ordinances imple- mented since the !980s, doing business has become increasingly unfriendly in Rehoboth, he said. Lomas also referred to an out- door vending machine ordinance that prohibited the devices. The ordinance was just the first in a series of laws that hurt downtown commerce, he said. "As a resident, I was shocked. It was almost like there was a con- spiracy," said Rehoboth resident Marcia Maldeis, in reference to the vending machine ordinance. "It raised issues about the process," said Decker. "It was a slimy sneakiness," said former Rehoboth Commissioner Mark Aguirre. Perhaps, the vending machine ordinance was a harbinger of more ordinances yet to come, said Lomas. "I think the business community has been stabbed six or seven times over the years." Such obstacles include sign ordinances and the recently passed floor-to-area ratio (FAR), which reduced size and density of Rehoboth buildings, including those in commercial districts. "Whatever happened to relax- ing the commercial FAR?" asked RBHA board member Greg Gause. Lomas said he found it baffling On Board Credits up to $300 per Stateroom 2nd Passenger deposit waived Valid on All 2006 Transatlantic Crossings aboard the Queen Mary 2 This sale applies to new bookings only. OCEAN TRAVEL 19478 Coastal Hwy 302-227-1607 Rehoboth Beach that residents said Dolle's Candyland, 1 Rehoboth Ave was a business landmark that repre- sents Rehoboth's character, because ordinances today prohibit its very existence. He referred to sign restrictions and tighter parking regulations corresponding to downtown resi- dential units. While Lomas favored Dolle's as a befitting architectural example of Rehoboth, he also said it's a long-gone probability for future entrepreneurs. Aside from new ordinances, which hinder the busi- ness community, he said, some city projects have added to their demise. "You throw in a circle and five years of streetscape, you probably have a business community that is dying," he said. He said he thinks the residential community, under RBHA is-doing a good job. "We like you. The problem with the town is that we're pretty much split," said Stiff. She said that at times the relationship between businesses and residents is adversarial. "The business community's economy is based on tourism. The residential commu- nity is not." Mixed-use entities are the very reason many residents moved to Rehoboth in the first place. "I think people need to take a look at Bethany Beach and say, 'Why don't I live in Bethany Beach? It's dead,'" she said. "There's a rule in the real estate community that the people who fight develop- ment the most, just moved into the area themselves." Beach business as usual? Lomas said divisions exist, too, within the business community. Commercial landlord owners are not troubled with restrictions, because downtown location ensure high demand and high rents. "Many checks are sent to Virginia or Pennsylvania. They're making a fortune. There's quite a bit of that in this town," said Lomas. Tenants who pay exorbitant rents are exasperated with trying to sustain their businesses. They are too busy to participate in town politics and civic functions because of time constraints, espe- cially throughout the short season, which has yet to become year- round. Sometimes, faulty business plans may be to blame. "The tenants are mad as hell," he said. Finally, only a few downtown businesses actually own theirown space, he noted. Lomas men- tioned his own Crosswinds Hotel, Nicola Pizza and Ibach's Candy By the Sea, as examples, but he said there are too few business- owned properties. Lomas said that until recently, he was unable to participate polit- ically or civically because of busi- nes-s demands. "The business community says the commission- ers are pro-residential," he said. "'If you just look at what's hap- pened over the past 20 years, the ordinances that were enacted, the commissioners have been anti- business. We seem like we've gotten to a point where a lot of ordinances are half-a****," he said. "What would you like to see us do?" asked Stiff. "It would be nice if they did support us and were more vocal, if they stepped up during the ordi- nances," he said. Stiff said in an effort to increase membership and work closer with area businesses, the RBHA is going to send a mass mailing within the next couple of months. Soon she will retrieve a list of all businesses in Rehoboth. After putting them in categories based on the nature of the service each business provides, the RBHA will poll residents. Along with the RBHA newslet- ter, she will send a questionnaire that will ask what businesses the locals promote and why. 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