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Lewes, Delaware
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February 28, 1997     Cape Gazette
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February 28, 1997
 

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12. CAPE GAZE'ITE, Friday; Feb 28- Mmch 6, 1997 Rehoboth's revamped parking permit system swings into gear By Trish Vernon With the initial season behind them, Rehoboth Beach officials have been fine tuning and stream- lining its parking permit system over the last few months and get- ring ready to roll for the summer of 1997. "We're starting earlier this year," said City Manager Greg Ferrese earlier this week, who last year was faced with an eleventh hour effort to get the permit sys- tem up and running when it was adopted one year ago. The city began mailing out ap- plications to all property owners this week, explaining eligibility for free seasonal nontransferable permits, which must be filled out and sent back to city hall by April 11 if additional permits are sought. Enclosed in the applica- tion letter are two free transferable seasonal permits for the 1997 sea- son which all property owners are entitled to. It is expected that mailing out the two permits initially will save on paperwork for city employees, as fewer people will avail them- selves of applying for additional free nontransferables for each ve- hicle registered in the property owner's name. Those with a valid license to rent their property may also request one transferable sea- sonal permit for each rental prop- erty at $20 each, which is a con- siderable reduction from the $75 rate others must pay. While last year all permits is- sued were blue and gold, this year, the free permits, both transferable and nontransferable, are green, while purchased permits are red. This will allow the city to discern whether a person is trying to turn back in a permit that was free or purchased before it expires and re- quest a refund. Business permits change This summer, those businesses with Rehoboth Beach mercantile licenses that are located outside city boundaries will only receive one seasonal transferable permit rather than a nontransferable for each vehicle registered in the owners' name. "Most contractors and other businesses that come in- to town have marked service vehi- cles and they are already allowed to park in unmetered areas," Fer- rese explained, "so this shouldn't be a problem for them." Presently, each business located within the city will receive two seasonal transferable permits, but that could change. The city is awaiting word from DART First State officials on Rehoboth's pro- posal to allow all bona fide em- ployees of merchants within the city limits to park for free at the park and ride lot on the outskirts of town, with the city willing to subsidize a lower than retail rate charged by DART. Rehoboth is expecting a reply within the next couple of weeks and if DART agrees to the proposal, the city will only issue one seasonal trans- ferable permit to each business. Ferrese also stressed that any- one who can prove residency within the city (driver's licenses are acceptable) but who is not a property owner is entitled to the same number of permits as prop- erty owners - two free transfer- ables and one additional nontrans- ferable for each vehicle registered in that person's name. Another significant change is in the charge for a Friday daily per- mit, which has been reduced from $8 (which it remains for Saturday and Sunday dailies) to $2. "If we can get DART to work with us and change makers in- stalled, we will have come a long way since last year," Ferrese said. The change makers he was re- ferring to were the topic of a park- ing advisory committee meeting on Feb. 25. Dan Wagner, eastern regional manager for Standard Change-Makers, Inc., came be- fore the group and Ferrese with advice on what type of change makers he can pro,ide. Change machines on tap The committee decided they will come before the Board of Commissioners at the March 3 workshop and request the city purchase one particular model that issues quarters for denominations ranging from $1 to $20, which will be mounted on a pedestal and placed in the island next to the comfort station at the intersection of Rehoboth Avenue and First Street. The cost of the change ma- chine is $3,000, with an additional $2,000 needed to build a protec- tive shelter around the machine, light it and erect signage. There was some discussion about issuing tokens from the change machine rather than quar- ters to prevent merchants from ob- taining change for their business operations from the machines. Each parking enforcement offi- cer and each permit sales person will carry change for meters as well, which is also available at the parking department office. Satel- lite sales stations will again be set up near the phone company build- ing on Rehoboth Avenue and on Bayard Avenue, although Ferrese isn't sure they will set up a third Rehoboth Beach officials are preparing for the summer of 1997 with a streamlined parking permit system and a propos- al to place a change machine on a Rehoboth Avenue island. They are also planning to place signs like the one City Man- ager Greg Ferrese stands by above on the back of every other lifeguard stand on the beach, nine in all, which is the brain- child of Commissioner Kenny Vincent. The signs will give the day's water temperature, high and low tides and the times the lifeguards are on duty. station on the north side of the eastbound lane of Rehoboth Av- enue, "as we didn't have back ups as we anticipated last year." The city has asked the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce to rethink its decision last year not to sell permits from its office near the entrance to town under certain stipulations to which the city wouldn't agree. Ferrese said he hopes merchants and real estate offices will again agree to sell permits, as the real estate offices brought in $17,204. Permits add to budget Ferrese said that last year, the permit system in all unmetered ar- eas of town brought in $231,460, excluding fines, which brought in an additional $18,295. Expendi- tures that year were $107,889, a figure which will decline this year, as the city won't be faced with start up costs. He estimates an outlay this year of $80,000, with all excess revenue going into the city's general fund. The revenue from fines could increase considerably, however, as Ferrese warned that this sum- mer the eight to 12 permit en- forcement officers will crack down on those who don't display permits in the windshields of their vehicles. "Last year, we only gave warnings until mid-June. This year, we won't be doing that. There are signs posted all over the residential areas of town, informa- tion on the permit system is found in the Chamber brochure and we'll be advertising the need for permits heavily again this sum- mer," he said, "so people shouldn't be able to claim igno- rance of the law." Lucas Development residents are chal enged to get organized By Kerry Kester Residents of the Lucas Development, one of the eight Sussex County communities in Gov. Tom Carper's Strong Communities Initiative (SCI), have a tough choice to make. Do they wantto commit their time and talents to improving their community, or do they want to let the available re- sources slip away from them? residences are old trailers in need of repair, and a number of the homes lack running water, sewer or electricity. Those homes that do have water are like- ly to have contaminated wells. Trash, a continual problem, is another component of the unhealthy living conditions that plague the impoverished community. Lloyd asked those who attended the During a meeting with First State Com- meeting to identify what they perceived to munity Action Agency (FSCAA) and state police on Tuesday, Feb. 25, Joe Lloyd, community prevention coordinator, took a hard line with residents of the development located near the outskirts of Milton. The organizational structure of Lucas De- velopment, he said, had broken down. Lu- cas Development, he said, is no longer be- ing represented at monthly or steering com- mittee meetings. Lack of communication with FSCAA, who administers the state and federal funding for the initiative, means the community has not received many services in recent months. Lucas Development, said Lloyd, needs to "get back to its organizational base. You've got to form some sort of organiza- tion that will work with us, so we can work with you," he said. The community, once known as Martin's Swamp, was built on low-lying land that was once used as a dumpsite. Many of the be the most serious problems in the com- munity. Two women said they believe the poor, nearly impassable road conditions and the drug problem cause the most hard- ship on residents. "We have a lot of dope back here," said one woman. "I certainly would like to see that removed." With an air of near hope- lessness, she explained to Lloyd that years ago she had tried to organize residents but was unsuccessful. "Nobody would follow me, because they said I was a police snitcher." She said that she was threatened, and eventually, she quit trying to rally the residents. Resources available In such an impoverished community, the drug trade is big business. There is very lit- tle street lighting, and drug dealers usually feel free to roam the small development, waiting for their clients to drive up and make their purchases. As with any open air drug market, crime is common. It is not unusual for people - especially the elderly - to fear venturing outside their homes. "I stays in the house and look out my window...because I'm scared," said one resident. Many of the people who live in the com- munity turn to Casa San Francisco in Mil- ton for meals. SCI offers other help to Lu- cas Development, but in recent months the residents have not availed themselves of the resources, because they lack leadership within the community. FSCAA, which administers the grant monies, provides training and technical as- sistance to the communities, largely through a community prevention coordina- tor. As needs are identified, the coordinator helps the communities locate the resources needed to solve the problems. FSCAA often facilitates locating re- sources to improve living conditions. It al- so provides assistance to secure staffing for communities to establish tutorial or recre- ational programs for children, and other ed- ucational programs such as drug awareness and teenage pregnancy prevention. The Delaware State Police has the Rural Community Policing Unit assigned to the Strong Communities. The four officers who work within the unit, housed at Troop 7, not only work as a unit but are each as- signed to communities for which they are individually responsible. Resources they offer include providing programs on conflict resolution, leadership, drug awareness and crime prevention. Housed in their mobile unit is an online computer equipped to help residents learn of employment opportunities and local, state and federal resources for individuals and families. The troopers also have educational pro- grams - either video or computer - which they provide to children. The officers are also available to the residents for emer- gency situations. Communication needed Lucas Development, because of its lack of a community organization to work with the facilitators in the SCI, have utilized few of the resources available. Cpl. John Manship, formerly assigned to Troop 7, coordinates the Lucas Develop- ment police services. He echoed Lloyd's concern for the community's faltering orga- nizational structure. "It's got to be what you folks want to do," said Manship, "but nobody is talking to anybody else out here - there's no communication." "It takes a community to make a decision Continued on page 13