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February 25, 2000     Cape Gazette
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February 25, 2000

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CAPE GAZETYE, Friday, Februm-y 25-Mch2,20 - 15 Rehoboth to hear St. Lawrence Street appeal F( b. 28 By Trish Vernon The owners of 102 St. Lawrence St. will take their case for partitioning of the parcel to the Rehoboth Beach Board of Com- missioners during a special meet- ing on Monday, Feb. 28. Mike Zimmerman, Kenneth Young and Constantine Malmberg are appealing the Jan. 17 decision of the Rehoboth Beach Planning Commission to deny dividing the parcel into two 50-by-t00-foot conforming lots. The owners of 102 St. Lawrence St. first came before the planners with their request in the fall and were told to return with an updated survey and a new revised application form, which they did in December. At that time, ques- tions arose over a water and sewer easement on the property and whether the parcel would be large enough to divide in a conforming manner if the city sidewalks en- croach into the property. The planners decided to seek a legal opinion from City Solicitor Walt Speakman and again post- poned a decision. Speakman's opinion, read at the Jan. 17 meet- ing, was that the city doesn't own the intrusion of the sidewalk into the lot. He wrote that he found no utility easement on this property, and, in any case, he wrote that he "is at a loss to understand how an esement would be grounds for Ring down a partitioning appli- cation even if one did exist." The planners however, citing the number of letters from neigh- boring property owners in opposi- tion to the partitioning, voted to deny the application as it would "dramatically change the immedi- ate neighborhood to its detri- ment," according to Planning Commissioner Ed Cerullo, who made the motion to deny the parti- tioning. He went on to cite the city's purpose clause, which the planners believe gives them the authority to protect and maintain the welfare of the community. Cerullo also made the motion that evening to request that the Board of Commissioners impose a moratorium on all partitionings, subdivisions and demolitions in residential areas until the city can adopt a neighborhood preserva- tion ordinance. The city had re- cently hired the firm of Reming- ton & Vernick to assist them in fashioning such an ordinance. Est. 1958 The Board of Commissioners, on Feb. 11, voted 4-3 to impose the moratorium, taking the plan- ners' request a couple of steps fur- ther by banning all new residen- tial construction and any additions that would enlarge existing struc- tures. Realtor Wilma Howett of Pru- dential Gallo, who has been hired to develop 102 St. Lawrence St,, explained to the planners prior to the vote that they have plans to re- move the present single family home and build "two charming houses that meet all of the city's requirements and would not in- crease the density," as the new homes would have a combined square footage as that of the one house now on the parcel. While the planners also noted that building the new homes would create two new curb cuts where there is now one, Howett replied that the city code requires off street parking. "We're just abiding by the rules," she said. Following the meeting, Howett noted that the planners and oppo- nents of the partitioning were er- roneous in stating that the majori- ty of the lots in the neighborhood are 75-by-100-feet in size. While that may be true for that particular block, the majority of the lots within two to three blocks are 50- by-100, according to the city tax map. She also disputed the claim that new homes such as these will become rental units, overflowing with vacationers. "I know of only one person who rents out one of the homes I've built, but he plans to eventually retire here and just needs the in- come at the moment," Howett said. She also disputes the planners' claim that there has been a "fren- zy" of partitioning requests, as in recent months there have only been a handful, and that there's "good development going on in this town." Howett, along with other devel- opers within Rehoboth Beach, ex- plain that the price of land has skyrocketed in recent years, while the majority of the houses on these parcels were build as vaca- tion cottages decades ago, often without insulation, proper heating or modern amenities. "They are often obsolete and can't be saved," she noted. Those who can afford to acquire HAZZARD Electrical Contractor L.P.I. Cert. 959 645-8457 645-9060 1-800-610-8457 CERTIFIED LIGHTNING PROTECTION P.O. Box 252, Lewes, DE 19958 Trish Vernon photos This house at 201 St. Lawrence St. sits on a parcel of land that the owners whish to partition into two conforming lots and build two new homes. The request was denied by the Rehoboth Planning Commission and has been appealed to the Board of Commissioners. The hearing is set for Mon- day, Feb. 28. such parcels expect to enjoy such amenities and in order to get a re- turn on their investment often build to the maximum allowable footage. "Unfortunately, Rehoboth is not a town of predominantly his- torical homes," Howett noted, adding that as a developer she ap- preciates the charm and am- biance, and attempts to build homes in keeping with the char- acter of the particular street. While aesthetics are subjective, Howett is proud of the houses she has developed for owners on Lake Drive, Delaware Avenue and Columbia Avenue. some of which sit next to or across from typical old modest wooden cot- tages, some sorely in need of painting and repairs. "On Lake Avenue we built two new homes on vacant, treeless lots that rm very proud of- in fact one will be featured in 'Architec- tural Digest' in April and I've had a lot of compliments," she said. The unimproved lots, which face The owners of 102 St. Lawrence St. think it's ironic that Planning Commissioner Ed Cerullo made the motion to deny their partitioning re. quest and the motion to seek a moratorium on new parti- tionings and demolishing when he received approval for a partitioning on Hen- lopen Avenue last year and Wilma Howett, who repre- sents the owners of 201 St. Lawrence Street, has also been involved in a number of other residential projects in Rehoboth Beach, including the building of these two homes bordering Silver Lake. Howett noted she is proud of such homes, which often replace obsolete old beach cottages. demolished a cottage along squash court and residence next to his home. Silver Lake, were purchased for $175,000 each on which the 2,000 square foot homes were built. Howett takes exception to the inference heard at Planning Com-  JT mission meetings that the parti- tioning requests they have been da hearing only benefit "greedy de- m,_ velopers. The entire economy benefits the landscapers, builders, cleaners," she said. "Through this process, nothing's Bruce Uliss and ever said about what's being done Steve Malcom right," Howett said. Zimmerman, one of the 102 St. WHEN SELLERS Lawrence owners, said it seems SHOULD BEWARE very ironic to him that Cerullo, You contacted a Realtor to list who made the motion to deny the your home, and the agent partitioning and to seek the mora- indicates that you might get torium, received approval from the planners for partitioning last more for your home than year of a parcel his corporation, comparable homes on the market. After all, it just takes JEM Delaware LLC, owned on HenlopenAvenue, despite opposi- finding one person who is tion from some neighbors, willing to pay your price - - JEM purchased Lots 5 I, 53 and right? Continued on page 16 Some Realtors approach a listing appointment as if they are Bank-issued, FDIC-insured to $100,000 3-year 7.05% APY* Minimum deposit $5,000 Annual Percentage Yield (APY) - Interest cannot remain on deposit; periodic payout of interest is required. Effective 2/23/00. Call or stop by today. Anthony Egeln New Devon Inn 142 Second St., Lewes 645-7710 Member SIPC Warren C. Hardy #7 Lighthouse Plaza, Rt. I Rehoboth Beach 227-2771 Edward Jones Serving Individual Investors Since 18 7] bidding for your home. Sellers often start out with an unrealistic opinion of their home's value, and there is often a strong temptation to go with a person who says what you want to hear. A good Realtor will back up their opinion of your home's value with hard data. The agent should give you information about homes that are currently on the market, and recent selling prices of similar properties. The most heroic marketing efforts won't work on a property that is overpriced. Even if you find a buyer who is willing to pay more than your home is worth, the sale could fall apart when the appraisal comes in lower than the agreed-upon price. Listen to everything, but be careful. For professional advice on all aspects of buying or selling real estate, consult Bruce or Steve at Long and Foster. Call Bruce at (302) 542-7474 or Steve at (302) 542-7473, or 888-888-5160 or email them at, or