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February 24, 2006     Cape Gazette
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February 24, 2006

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m CAPE GAZETTE - Friday, Feb. 24. Monday, Feb. 27, 2006 - 19 By Kevin Spence Cape Gazette staff Nearly 40 residents gathered at Rehoboth's City Hall Tuesday, Feb. 21, to discuss the possibility of rezoning Sussex Street from a commercial to a residential dis: tfict. But the commissioners meeting was almost like a public hearing, as residents demanded an oppor- tunity to be heard. After an hour's debate, the commissioners unanimously voted to hold a public hearing April 17 to consider the rezoning. Several years ago part of Sussex Street was rezoned resi- dential, but the public hearing will address rezoning the rest of Sussex Street, which will affect roughly 40 lots. "All this does is entertain what's in the CDP," said Rehoboth Beach Mayor Sam Cooper. But, the debate over the process of informing residents about the rezoning became almost as intense as the proposal itself. Some commissioners say plen- ty of time had been proyided to inform residents about the rezon- ing and numerous meetings were held over the years. "My point here is that we've had three years since it was brought up to the public," said Rehoboth Commissioner Dennis Barbour. Rehoboth Commissioner Ron Paterson said the first formal meeting was held nearly five years ago, March 12, 2001. Since then, almost 30 other meetings were held, including Saturday opportunities to discuss it. "To say this is a surprise, something that popped up all of a sudden, is not the situation," Paterson said. "Now, we're being asked for another month," he said. Furthermore, commissioners say, the resolution to hold a public Estates Wanted CONSIGNMENTS BEING ACCEPTED FOR STUART KINGSTON SERIES OF AUCTIONS ANTIQUE FURNITURE, ART, RUGS, JEWELRY, CRYSTAL, SILVER, TOYS, AUTOMOBILES AND COLLECTIBLES NO ITEM TOO SMALL. NO ESTATE TOO LARGE CALL FOR DATES'& APPRAISALS STUART KINGSTON, INC, One Grenoble Place Rehoboth, DE 19971 WWW.STUARTKi NGSTON.COM 302-227-2524 888-407-0433 hearing is just that - the ability to discuss an issue publicly, not to make a final decision. In the interim, however, no per- !its are issued for commercial development on the street, which is zoned C-3, which ~vould allow for mid-rise apartments, rooming houses and hotels. "Down zoning is traditionally a taking. You are changing immedi- ately the character of zoning with the resolution," said Barbara Leery, a Rehoboth real estate agent. CDP calls for it? Commissioners say rezoning Sussex Street is "pursuant" to the city's comprehensive develop- ment plan (CDP). But, "pursuant" became a key word in the debate. "I'm a proponent of getting the info out. These are the facts of the process: the CDP was certified 18 months ago. The land use recom- mended was supposed to be implemented in 18 months - to 'pursue' a change in the rezoning. It says it will be 'pursued' within in 18 months," said Rehoboth res- ident Stan Mills. He added that if the over- whelming majority of residents vote against it, the rezoning will not occur. "The mayor, I believe, is right. The time for debate is the hearing," said Millsl But for Martin Clark and his wife, Eileen, who own a Sussex Street home, the proposed rezon- ing was unforeseen. "We are just baffled at this," said Clark. "That makes no sense." The Clarks bought other lots on Sussex Street with knowl- edge of its mixed-use nature. They tore down a warehouse on one parcel, at the city's recommenda- tion, and then bought two more lots behind Quillen'S TruValue Hardware, 301 Rehob0th St. "Is Quillen's propert~ not zoned commercial," asked Martin. "That makes no sense." "I believe there's a compromise position. We truly did buy a home in the commercial district. We have been waiting toi retire. We that income, which is now going to be significantly reduced," Eileen said. i The Clarks also say they've worked with city 6fficials to accommodate foreigh students with places to park their bikes on their property. "We're no special interest group, we're pi~ople who love this community," Martin said. Perhaps echoing thq arguments of the controversial floor-to-area is happening," Sokolove said. "It ratio (FAR) reduction passed over is a dangerous thing to do quick- the summer, residents said they ly,"he added. were not informed of the proposed Joyce Lussier, who also favors rezoning adequately, the zone change, agreed. "We've been down this road a "I do think this calls for notifi- couple of times before," said cation," she said. Rehoboth resident, Hoyte Decker, "I don't know whether I'm talk- who said he does not live on ing past you folks or not," said Sussex Street, nor does he have a Cooper. "You need to make this specific interest in it. argument in April," he said to But, while he favors the rezon- those opposing the resolution. ing, he urged the commissioners Rehoboth Commissioner Kathy to notify every single property McGuiness suggested the city owner who would be affected, notify affected residents. Former mayoral candidate Bob "It would make everybody Sokolove, owner of 59 Lake happy," she said. restaurant, addressed the co!!is- The commissioners unanimous- sion. "Unfortunately, much like ly passed the resolution to move the FAR, I hate to see the town get the rezoning to a public hearing into a similar situation," said and contact individual owners. Sokolove. "The fact of the matter Commissioners can reduce the is there are a lot of things in the area to be rezoned, but not add to CDP that may never come up." it," Cooper said. "But I'm not "I do believe a lot of people, prepared to say that's what's even to this day, have no idea this going to happen." I ! ! Final Presentation m If you purchased or 2004 with an or refinanced in 2002, 2003 Adjustable Rate Mortgage, you should expect an ad ustment this year for the full 2%. Now is the time to look into a long term fixed rate loan. ital Mortgage Finance Corp. The Richard Miller Team Richard Miller Michael Moshos Dawn Bushey