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March 11, 2005     Cape Gazette
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March 11, 2005
 

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16 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, March 11 - March 14, 2005 Lewes' Welcome Alley decision to be made March 2.1 By Henry J. Evans Jr. The owners call it a "country lane." The city calls it a street. But the final word on what ultimately happens on Welcome Alley will rest with the Lewes Mayor and Council at its 7 p.m., Monday, March 21, regular meeting. (The Mayor and Council had to shift this month's meeting from the second to the third Monday of the month due to scheduling com- plications.) At a March 8 public hearing, Warren and Mary Lee Smith, rep- resented by attorney Eric Howard, provided reasons why subdividing their one-and-one-third acre prop- erty at 1 Welcome Alley should be allowed. However, attorney Vince Robertson, representing families opposing the Smiths' plan, said if allowed, the Welcome Alley sub- division would set a dangerous precedent by permitting numerous variances to city. ordinances. "The ordinances are what they are. The Smiths are seeking to get around those ordinances," Robert- son told the council. Planners Continued from page 14 Paterson said. The applicant ran into problems with the Army Corps of Engineers regarding the stability of the bank a!ong the canal where the town- houses were to be built, said Pa- terson. There was also some dis- cussion about creating a bike trail along the canal. He said though the planners discussed the request, the application was withdrawn be- fore a decision was made. The owners of the property, 1B Ventures, LLC, have since applied for a building permit and have be- gun construction on the town- houses. Paterson said he did not know what the property owners worked out with the Army Corps, but guessed that the townhouse may be set further away from the canal than was originally pro- posed The property straddles both commercial and residential zoning districts and the townhouses are set in the commercial part of the property. "City regulation allows residential units to be placed on commercial property," said Pater- son, "but not the other way around." Paterson said he assumes the applicant intends to partition the two residential lots and build houses. However, he said they would be odd-shaped lots, which have complicated partitioning re- quests in the past. The preliminary review will be held at the next Rehoboth Beach Planning Commissioner meeting at 7 p.m., Monday, March 14, in the commissioners' room at city hall. The partitioning as been re- quested by Susan Frederick, of George, Miles and Burr Architects - on behalf of 1B Ventures, LLC. The Smiths said they plan to build a home next to their existing home on Welcome Alley that would be smaller and more man- ageable for themselves and their 48-year-old son Stephen, who lives with them. Warren Smith, 79, testified that he plans to sell the existing home and build the smaller home where he and his wife can care for their son, who he said has undergone pancreas and kidney transPlants, is blind, and whose walking is as- sisted by a foot prosthesis. Stephen sat in a wheelchair next to his mother as his father and Howard explained the subdivision shouldn't be required to meet more than a half dozen city re- quirements. The proposed subdivision vio- lates the city's street specifica- tions and design standards that re- quire a minimum 50-foot wide right-of-way and a minimum paving width of 36-feet with side- walks on both sides of the street. Also required is a 10-foot mini- mum radius at intersections, a 25- foot minimum radius at the curb lines and an appropriate turn- around on the dead end street. The Smiths' proposed plan would have right-of-way and paving widths of 20-feet with no radii at intersections and no side- walks on either side of the street. The Smiths' plan also calls for a gravel-only roadway surface, but gravel surfaces do not meet city engineering standards. Howard told the council, point- by-point, why the Smiths should be allowed variances. "There's no reasonable reason for requiring that," Howard said of the city's ordinance that streets be constructed of a solid surface and not gravel as in the Smiths' plan. Howard said the gravel sur- face would reduce runoff and al- low water to penetrate. Howard said city concems that Welcome Alley would be too nar- row for fire trucks and other emer- gency vehicles isn't well support- ed. He introduced as an exhibit a letter written by then Lewes Fire Department Chief Gordon Davis in which Davis states that access to the property isn't a problem. Howard said concerns about trash trucks and school buses ac- cessing the property "are not a crucial issue. "There really is no reason not to approve this," he said. City Councilman Ted Becker asked who would maintain the roadway if the surface remained gravel. Smith initially said the city would but later said the gravel surface required little mainte- nance and that he would maintain the roadway. Howard said items the city has particular issue with could be han- dled through restrictive covenants. But Robertson said covenants could be removed. Anne Maull lives on DeVries Circle, a portion of which backs up to Welcome Alley. She said she's concerned that what the Smiths are proposing would cre- ate a hardship. "The concerns that we have are continuing to have access to the backs of our houses. I just want to be sure that we always have that access," Maull said. She said she's also concerned that more trees will be removed from the area to provide space for the home. Mike Tyler, who lives in Drake Knoll, said if the city allows what the Smiths are pro- posing, he too could subdi- yide his back- yard. Tyler said the Smiths are TYLER trying to use what is essentially a driveway to provide access to a subdivision. "If you approve something like this, I can use my driveway and put a house back there," Tyler said. Robertson said the multiple variances to city ordinances the Ill Richard Miller Cell: 302-381-0111 CONSTRUCTION LOANS 0% DOWN WILL BUILD THE HOUSE OF YOUR DREAMS C L MOR CORP. Kim Bluer Cell: 302-436-6409 Mike Moshos Cell: 302-236-7905 4343 Coastal Highway Suite 202 Rehoboth Beach, DE Office: 302.226.5991 Fax: 302.226.5990 Toll Free: 1.87Z 40BEACH www.cmfloans.com Smiths are seeking are only part of the problem. He said the pro- posal is also contrary to numerous objectives contained in the city's Comprehensive Land Use Plan. Robertson said the comprehen- sive plan's stated goals of improv- ing emergency vehicle access, providing improved pedestrian and vehicular flow and creating more than one access point to an area, are all poorly addressed by the Smiths' proposal. As the hearing drew to a close, city Solicitor Tempe Steen re- minded the council that the guide- lines to base their decision upon are contained in existing city ordi- nances. "Tea00 Bruce Uliss and Steve Malcom WHAT APPRAISERS DO Appraisers are an integral part of the real estate profession. When someone applies for a mortgage, the lender calls an appraiser to give an educated opinion of what the proper- ty is worth. Appraisers are also hired to establish values for homes that are part of estates or homes that are being sold as a result of divorce. Appraisals can vary greatly. The appraiser begins by looking for "corn- parables", or homes that are similar to the property that is being appraised. They try to use similar properties that have sold within 6 months of the appraisal. Since no two houses are identical, the final decision requires the appraiser's discretion. They make adjustments for the differences between the comparable homes and the property being appraised, adding value for a fireplace or giving credit for a new roof or exceptional land- scaping. Professionals sometimes dis- agree on what is "similar", so their final numbers can be different. For professional advice on all aspects of buying or selling real estate, consult  P,,m|t Team" at Lon 8 and Foster. Call Bruce at 002) 542-7474 or Steve at (302) 542-7473 or both at (800) 462-0224 (ext. 474) or email them at bruce@resultsteamonline.com, or steve@resultsteamonline.com.