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Lewes, Delaware
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March 10, 2009     Cape Gazette
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March 10, 2009
 

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Dewey's 35-foot height restriction: Is it legal? Approved by referendum, bill under scrutiny By Rob Kunzig rkunzig@capegazette.com A 35-foot height restriction on buildings, overwhelmingly ap- proved by Dewey Beach voters, is under heavy scrutiny by state legislators, who say they are con- cerned it might conflict with state law. "It's basically trying to take away a right that the state guar- antees," said Rep. Pete Schwarzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach. Schwarzkopf said Delaware law allows property owners to appeal zoning decisions - ac- cordingly, restrictions on height are normally amendments to the zoning chapter of a town's code. A height restriction embedded in the town's charter would be harder to appeal, which may ren der it unconstitutional, Schwartzkopf said. He also said he doubts voters were aware of this when they voted on Sept. 20, 2008. "The public isn't aware of what it does;' he said of the bill. "I don't think anybody realized thisY Filed as House Bill 50, the height restriction passed with 84 percent of the vote, 608 to 114. The General Assembly rarely strikes down a bill passed by ref- erendum. Sen. George Bunting, D-Ocean View, said refusals oc- cur only in cases of unconstitu- tionality. "I'm on my sixth governor," Bunting said, "and I can't recall us ever overturning something that came out of referendum." Still Bunting said he's unsure why Dewey decided to amend its charter rather than its code. "I don't know why they feel it's Amenities Continued from page 5 time we know people are buying into these developments with ex- pectations," said Commissioner Mike Johnson. "What do you tell people who are already there? We feel obli- gated to those folks" In Woodridge, no homes have been built, said Lawrence Lank, director of planning and zoning. The development contains 188 lots. Lank said 50 lots represent about 25 percent of the total lots, which is not an unreasonable number to support amenities. "Maybe numbers are better than time on this one," he said. The. commission agreed to amend the condition and the de- veloper will have to file an amended final site plan contain- ing the new condition necessary" Bunting said. Mayor Dell Tush ran for office on the 35-foot issue. The bill Was designed in part to put a defini- tive end to the f'trestorm ignited when Dewey Beach Enterprises (DBE) and Harvey Hanna & As- sociates (HHA) announced plans to build a 68-foot hotel on the Ruddertowne property. Shawn Tucker, attorney for DBE and HHA; was unavailable for comment. Tush said the restriction was proposed as a charter amend- ment as a way to make it harder to repeal. Were it an item in the zoning code, a majority vote of Continued on page 10 What do you get when you combine a grocery store and a bank? A cerebration. Join PNC Bank's Grand Opening, Saturday, March 14, from 9AM-5:30PM. Who says banking can't be more fun? Not us. This Saturday, we're celebrating our Grand Opening at the convenient new Rehoboth and Bay Shore branches inside Giant. Stop by between 9AM-5:30PM for food, fun--incLuding a clown from 12-3--and great giveaways! Stay aLL day if you Like. We'LL be here. It's a celebration of fun, family and convenience. Giant. I QPNC LEADING THE WAY Rehoboth Branch 19312 lighthouse PLaza BLvd. Inside Giant Supermarket I BayShore Branch 25939 John J. Wittiams Hwy, Inside Giant Supermarket MON-FRI 10AM-7:30PM SAT 9AM-5:30PM SUN 11AM-4PM No purchase or transaction necessary. See official rules at PNC Rehoboth and Bay Shore branches. @2009 The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. All rights reserved. PNC Bank Member FDIC.