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March 2, 2012     Cape Gazette
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4 FRIDAY, MARCH 2 - MONDAY MARCH 5, 2012 Cape Gazette D Noble questions attorneys; no date for decision By Kara Nuzback torneys for the town and DBE say knuzback@capegazette.com the complaint should be dis- missed. Dewey Beach stakeholders The mutual agreement and re- await a Chancery Court decision lease, approved by town council that could clear the way for a Feb. 26, allows the developer to re- makeover at the Ruddertowne build Ruddertowne to exceed the site. Oral arguments from attor- town's 35-foot height limit and neys representing the Town of provides the town with free Dewey Beach, developer Dewey amenities, including a baywalk, Beach Enterprises and four prop- additional parking and designated erty owners were heard in town space. Chancery Court Feb. 27. Vice Chancellor John Noble's h- Four Dewey Beach property nal decision could end or reignite owners fried an August 2011 corn- years of litigation fried against the plaint, seeking to invalidate an town by the developer. DBE attor- agreement between town council ney Shawn Tucker, who was the and Ruddertowne developer first to speak, said the appeal Dewey Beach Enterprises to rede- should have been fried within 60 velop the Ruddertowne site. At- days of the February 2011 vote to approve the agreement. Michael McDermott, who rep- resented _the property owners, said the complaint was fried with- in 60 days of a final public hearing about Ruddertowne. McDermott referred to a June 17 town council meeting to discuss specifics con- cerning amehities provided to the town by DBE in the redevelop- ment, McDermott argued that since Murray's complaint was filed within 60 days-of the June meet- ing, it falls within the town's cut off time for appeals. Tucker argued the statue of re- pose took effect in February, when town council approved the plat plans for the project. "These were cleanup items that the town want- ed to take one last look at," Tucker said of the lune meeting. "The hearing .that mattered was the Feb- mary one." McDermott said a private citizen who is not well versed in contract language would be confused as to which public hearing was the final public hearing - the hearing on Feb. 26 or the hearing on June 17 Noble appeared to side with Tucker. "I can understand the con- fusion," Noble said. "But that which is animating this litigation was all appr0ved in February." In a separate argmnent, town at- torney Megan Mantzavinos said the complaint should be dis- missed because there is no proof any of the property owners who filed the complaint would suffer more harm from the redevelop- ment than any other property owner in town. Property owner Joan Claybrook, who sat through the arguments, said afterward, "l think the judge pretty much dismissed Megan's arguments on standing." Claybrook has been helping property owners Tony Murray, Charles McKinney, David Kamin- sky and Elizabeth Cadell raise money to move the complaint for- ward, and she has reached out to DeWey Beach citizens for support. Claybrook is cofounder of Citi- zens to Preserve Dewey, a group that has long been opposed to any violation of the town's 35-foot height limit. "I think our case is very stroflg," she said. About 40 others, including members of citizens organiza- tions, town council, property owners and DBE partners, squeezed into the gallery of a small, windowless courtroom in Kent County Courthouse in Dover. Kaminsky was the only one of the four plaintiffs present during the two-hour hearing. McDermott also said the agree- ment between DBE and town council violates the town's zoning code and comprehensive plan by exceeding the town's height limit by about 10 feet, and by allowing a hotel at the site. "The is a private contract between the town and one of its citizens," he said. Based on McDermott's logic, Noble asked, how would any land-use issue be resolved in Dewey Beach? "The only way to resolve it is to litigate it to the end," McDermott said. After the arguments, NoNe said, "This has been very helpful." He left the courtroom and did not say when a decision would be is-. sued. Both Claybrook and Tucker said Noble had a good under- standing of the case. "DBE was happy=with the time and attention the court gave to the arguments of both parties," Tuck- er said. "We couldn't have asked for anything more than that." unveils new Mavor hopes clean Beach and Rehoboth Beach were among the four that received su- water will bring perstar status from NRDC. In a June 29 statement, NRDC more visitors said, "These beaches deserve By Rara Nuzback special notice for not only re- knuzback@caoegazette.com ceiving a five-star rating this year, but for having perfect test- Dewey Beachis showing offits ing results for the past three superstar status. Mayor Diane years, indicating a history of very Hanson unveiled a new logo Feb. good water quality." 23, which emphasizes the town's Mayor Diane Hanson said the recognition as one of the clean- recognition from NRDC is a est beaches in the country, good way to market Dewey In June, the Natural Resources Beach and encourage tourism. Defense Council recognized four "We want to let people know beaches for the superior cleanli- we've got a great beach here," ness of their waters. Dewey shesaid. awa Gary Keith, a full-time resident of Dewey Beach, volunteered to create the image. Keith said he worked professionally in graphic design and fine arts for more than 30 years before he moved to Dewey Beach six years ago. Keith said members of town council, webmaster Dick Cleave- land and volunteer Susan Slye approached him about creating the logo. J:Ie designed the image free of charge. "When there's a need for the town and I can do it, I'm happy to," he said. Keith said he created three or four draft graphics, and he let Hanson and some Dewey Beach commissioners decide which lo- go they liked the most. Hanson said she and commis- sioners are trying to fend money in the town budget to create a banner with the new logo to be put up at the Life Saving Station on Dagsworthy Avenue. GARY KEITH GRAPHIC DEWEY BEACH RESIDENT Gary Keith created a new graphic to emphasize the town's award as one of four beaches in the country with the cleanest water. The image can also be viewed on the town's website at townofdeweybeach.com Dewey in search of revenue for infrastructure JudgeStructUresaid committeeRead is 1.6 feetmeeting'above pairs.Cver anyofthe cost of actual re- sea level. By Kara Nuzback put a property tax to referendum. Chairman Rick Judge facilitated Sunset Park on Dagsworthy DelDOTagreement knuzback@capegazette.com In its 30 years as an incorporated installation of the new drainage Avenue has also suffered from Shortly after Dewey Beach town, Dewey Beach has never system along with Mike Cotten flooding and high tides. Judge was incorporated, former Mayor The deadline for Dewey Beach. had a property tax. Property of Cotten Engineering and con- said after the Bayard Avenue re- Bruce Vavala signed an agree- officials to vote on a budget for owners who rent are required to tractor Mumford and Miller. pairs were complete, Cotten did ment with the state concerning the coming fiscal year is fast ap- pay an accommodations tax and The road was raised and a new a feasibility study on the bayside street and beach maintenance. proaching. Before March 31, vol- buy a business license. "I don't stretch of blacktop was applied of Dagsworthy Avenue. "With a According to the 1983 agreement, unteers are trying to find money pay a nickel to the town," Silver to Bellevue and Swedes streets, very little bit of money we could maintenance of streets is the re- to put into an account for the said. New storm drains were in- have a nice park and a safe sponsibility of the town, and the town's infrastructure needs. Allen said the town's drainage stalled to replace the broken, Dagsworthy street," Judge said. state is not tiable for any costs as- Sandwiched between the At- issues are a train wreck. "I don't corrugated pipes that were more Mayor Diane Hanson said sociated with the maintenance. lantic Ocean and the Rehoboth know anyone that wouldn't pay it than 30 years old. Two water Center for the Inland Bays pro- "Such maintenance may in- Bay, Dewey Beach is no stranger if they knew what it was going pumps, two tide gates and a vides funds for maintenance of clude...cleaning and repair of to severe floods, toward," Allen said of a property man-made channel were also in- Sunset Park and suggested the stormwater installations and the At a Feb. 25 Dewey Beach tax. stalled. The project cost the center could help financially like," the agreement says. Town Council meeting, Corn- In June, a project was corn- town $900,000. with the repairs. Bethany Beach and Rehoboth missioner Jim Laird said the pleted to reduce flooding prob- A $480,000 low-interest loan Chief Financial Officer Bill Beach signed similar agreements town needs to establish a pre- lems on Bayard Avenue, a bay- from Delaware Department of Brown submitted a Jan. 27 appli- with the state, which made dictable stream of revenue for in- side area where flooding had in- Natural Resources and Environ- cation for a matching grant from stormwater maintenance the frastructure needs. "We need to convenienced property owners mental ControI helped the town DNREC to help fund a $50,000 municipalities' responsibility. be thinking about the future for decades. Many residents make payments on the project, surface water planning project. "I think we need to go back to here," Laird said. have said the problem created But the town's operating budget The project would result in a DelDOT and renegotiate," said Budget and finance committee safety issues in the most affected is just $2.4 million, andReadAv- master plan for upgrading Commissioner Anna Legates at members Larry Silver and Mark areas, enue is the new low point in stormwater drainage into Re: the Feb. 25 meeting. "The worst Allen said town council should Infrastructure committee Dewey Beach. At a Jan. 27 infra- hoboth Bay, The grant would not they can say is 'no.'"