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March 6, 1998     Cape Gazette
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March 6, 1998

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18 - CAPE GAZE'IWE, Friday, March 6 - March 12, 1998 New legislative committee traveling tourism trail By Rosanne Pack There are no widgets, ears of corn or chicken legs produced, but the second largest industry in the state brings in almost $990 mil- lion annually and employs ap- proximately 13,000 people. Members of the recently named House Tourism Committee think that these figures are impressive, but they are just a starting point. Chaired by Rep. Tina Fallon, R- Seaford, the committee is to serve as a conduit for legislation re- garding the tourism in- dustry. Com- FALLON mittee mem- bers hope to see legislation creat- ed that will foster growth of the industry. After an initial meeting last week, Fallon said, "I'm all pumped up! This all boils down to education, whether you dig ditch- es or run Chase Manhattan Bank, education is the key to success. "We need to plan, we need to change attitudes regarding tourism, and I hope to see appro- priam bills come out of this com- mittee to help accomplish this." Tourists oil the machinery of the industry with the content of their pockets as they visit Delaware's beaches, state parks, wildlife areas, museums and his- toric locations. The business of taking care of tourists, housing, feeding, watering down, entertain- ing and educating, is only behind agriculture in swelling the state's hearty coffers. Conversely, Delaware is contri- butions to supporting and market- ing tourism ranks at the bottom of the list for states that have state and county offices of tourism. Cindy Small, director of the Sussex Coun- ty Conven- tion and Tourism Commission (SCCTC), agrees with Fallon when it comes to education. She points SMALL out that the tourism industry is clean and rela- tively non-invasive. It brings in approximately $8 for every $1 in- vested, and it puts people to work. She said that Delaware needs to think in terms of competing in the tourism industry as many other states do. Small, who spoke to the tourism committee last week, said, "We need to look logically at what oth- er states are doing. "The amount of money that they are spending to attract people is indicative of what they know that they can draw. "This new committee took the first step last week when they heard from county and state tourism officials. This should help establish an educational forum." Rep. Shirley Price, D-Millville, is named to the nine-member committee as is Rep. John Schroeder, D-Lewes. Price said the first meeting last week served as a shakedown session for her. She said that she appreciated hear- ing about the tourism opportuni- ties in all areas of the state, with an eye to promoting tourism throughout Delaware. "I think we need to do some- thing creative with the lodging tax," she said. "It could be spread around more equitably. I'm not in Hudson family changes t ans on Rt. I field By Michael Short The Hudson family has sent a letter to the Sussex County Board of Adjustment, saying they are no longer interested in a special-use exception to hold charitable events at the site of the Beach Boys and Punkin' Chunkin' events. The Board of Adjustment had previously given approval for spe- cial events for charity, but had im- posed conditions on the request. Joseph Hudson had previously asked that one condition, which banned alcohol, be removed; the board refused to change that con- dition. The letter is expected to be read at the March 16 meeting of the board, although no action by the board is necessary. Assistant County Attorney Peter Jones said the Hudson family has relin- quished the special-use exception. But that does not mean that spe- cial events can not be held at the site of the Eagle Crest Aerodrome, north of Lewes, which has drawn huge crowds for both the Beach Boys Concert and Punkin' Chunkin' (the Punkin' Chunkin' will be held at a different site next year). Jones said that the Hudson fam- ily can simply make a request that Sussex County Planning and Zon- ing allow a special event to be held at the site. That is the way ap- proval was given for Punkin' Chunkin' and the Beach Boys events. Jones said that Planning and Zoning would not be able to give approval for the number of events requested in the special use excep- tion. The original request was for up to eight events. But Jones said that the Planning and Zoning office would have the authority to grant approval for an occasional event. Neighbors had complained about large crowds, trespassing and the impact of such large events. They also worded that it could be a safety hazard be- cause there is a working airstrip at the site. The Board of Adjustment had approved the exception with several conditions to prohibit al- cohol, limit the number of events to four, not allow overnight camp- ing and to have a one-year trial pe- riod. Hudson family attorney John Sergovic could not be reached on Thursday to discuss the decision. Sussex P&Z defers Midway go-cart action By Michael Short The Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission has de- ferred action on a proposed addi- tional go-cart track and wading pool for the Midway Shopping Center after several local residents complained about noise. The project will be considered again when the commission next meets March 12. Fun Sport Inc. already operates existing go-carts, a wading pool and water slide in the shopping center. They requested an enlarged wading pool and an additional go- cart track in an effort to upgrade carts would be installed with "su- per quiet" mufflers and that the business is a family-orientedone that has existed for years and nev- er had a complaint about noise. Fun Sport Inc. has negotiated with the Midway Shopping Center and said the owner agreed to close a right-turn-out located between Holly's and the Roadhouse Steak Joint. Delaware's Department of Transportation (DelDOT) request- ed that both the right-turn-out and right-turn-in be eliminated, but Midway Shopping Center owner Richard Derrickson refused to eliminate the entrance. Jan Ingersoll asked the commis- sioners if they would like to have a track in their front yard. Local resident Peter Hallock said "we listen to it all day long...and Lord help us on a holi- day." In a letter to the editor, Hallock wrote "Stop, look, listen! That's what we are asking our Sussex County officials and property owners to do. Listen to our request for our quality of life, don't re- voke it." As part of DelDOT's condi- tions, Fun Sport also agreed to in- stall approximately 1,000 feet of the f_ailRy ................................ SeyerM 1 residents_oposed " _s!dewalk along Route 1 at the Attorney James Urey said the the project, primarily citing noise.- sho-p-p'ffa-&-n]i:foh'o] favor of.just throwing money at something, but tourism is some- thing concrete that will pay off." Fallon and Small also feel that the allocation of the money gained from the state's 0.8 percent sales tax could be amended so that more returns to the industry that generates approximately $10 mil- lion in revenues. The tax is currently divided so that 1/8 goes to tourism, 1/8 goes to beach replenishment and the re- mainder goes into the general fund. Price said, "The state doesn't seem to appreciate our industry. There is so much connected to it, such as construction, restaurants and retail markets." Fallon said that she has received a great amount of feedback from her constituents and those outside her district who support the idea of a standing tourism committee in the House. She said the committee would meet again shortly after the Gen- eral Assembly reconvenes Tues- day, March 17; and she hopes that legislators will be concerned with drafting tourism legislation soon. MODULAR )MES WHOLESALERS 00tOI,ES00I00 PRICES TO KIBLIC RANCH CAPE * TWO STORY 15 years experience 227-0922 LOWEST PRICES ON DELMARVA! TODAY 226 Furniture Restorers, Inc. 1 Pickling, Milk Painting and Other Specialty Finishes Available ii iiil I LARGE SUITES WELCOME Open Daily (Exc. Sun/Mon) 110 New Road, Lewes 302/645-9097 Member, Lewes Chamber of Commerce