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March 27, 1998     Cape Gazette
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March 27, 1998

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Citizens call for sweeping changes in Sussex- pg. 11 n Delaware's Cape Region Friday, March 27 - Thursday, April 2, 1998 'Volume 5, NO. 44 Federal regs slow down Rehoboth Boardwalk repairs Merchants feel brunt as city expects to award bid on April 9 By Trish Vernon When the biggest nor'easter of the winter damaged the Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk in early February, summer seemed to be well in the offing. But with Easter just two weeks away and the weather finally taking a turn for the better, merchants along dae north end of the Boardwalk are fretting over the fact that repairs have yet to begin. The merchants' plight was given exten- sive coverage by daily newspapers and local television stations this week, and once city officials stepped in to explain the status of the project, many fears were allayed. If the board of commissioners voted to spend city funds,estimated at $170,000, or if the state had raced to Rehoboth's aid, work would no doubt be underway. How- ever, "it's the consensus that the voters wouldn't agree with that," said Rehoboth Beach Milyor Sam Cooper. Rather, the city has been going through a lengthy process of obtaining the go-ahead from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), so that Rehoboth Beach will be eligible for 75 percent funding. Soon after the storm ended, the city had its engineer, Steve Solay, come up with an estimate of the damage. Once that assess- ment was accepted by city officials, Solay had to accompany a FEMA and a State Highway Department inspector as they went over every inch of the Boardwalk from Dolle's to the Henlopen Hotel and come to terms with any discrepancies they encountered. According to Cooper, Solay then drew up the bidding documents and felt it necessary to run those by FEMA officials 10 days ago "to make sure they were in concert over the scope of the project. Now we're advertis- ing for bids, according to the bidding laws and the wood and other materials have been ordered so that the project can get under- way as soon as it's awarded." During the mandatory bid advertising period, there will be a pre-bid meeting at 2 Continued on page I0 Delaware earmarks prime Sussex farms for preservation By Michael Short Delaware voted on Wednesday to preserve some of Sussex Coun- ty's finest farms. The Agricultural Lands Preser- vation Foundation voted Wednes- day to preserve 31 farm proper- ties, keeping them forever as islands of agriculture in a rapidly developing state. Many of those 31 are in Sussex County and there are some very familiar names on the list. The vote means Delaware has agreed to buy development fights for the land, which means that farmers agree to never develop the prop- erty. It can be used for farming or forestry, but subdivisons will nev- er sprout where corn and soy- beans now grow. Delaware agreed to pay up to $7.2 million for the properties. Farmers keep the land, but agree it will never be developed (there are provisions to allow homes for farm laborers or family members). There remains only some final surveying and similar details to be worked out. Of those 31 sites, 15 are in Sus- sex County. The Sussex County sites total 2,812.18 acres and the value of their development fights is c0nsidered $2,752,337.65. "We've got some good farms," said Stewart McKenzie, a man- agement analyst with the Delaware Department of Agricul- ture. "They are intended to be farms forever." Delaware's efforts to preserve farmland have meant that close to 20 percent of the state's farmland has had its development rights sold or has been put into a preser- vation district. Land in the dis- tricts can still be developed, but farmers agree to 'wait at least 10 years before they do so. Now, Delaware's efforts statewide include just over 100,000 acres of farmland, although most are inpreservation districts. That land can still be Continued on page 10 The John D. Vincent farm on Route I north of Overbrook is one of several Sussex County farms from which Delaware recently purchased development rights to ensure its long-term future as a farm. The classic Sussex County farm includes grain and poultry operations and extensive frontage along Route 1. Its more than 250 acres have been farmed by members of the Vincent family for more than a century and a half. Tsantes, Bastian, Ford join Lewes Council race Four candidates now seeking two seats; filing deadline April 2 By Dennis Forney What a difference one week can make. This time last week only one candidate had filed in Lewes for two council seats up for election on Saturday, May 9. Now four are in the books. On Monday this week Stephanie Tsantes filed and on Wednesday Jim Bastian filed, followed by incumbent councilman Jim Ford. TSANTES They join tor in George- Jud Bennett town for the who filed for Delaware election sever- attorney gener- al weeks ago. al's office. Filing dead- She's been a line for candi- resident of dates is Thurs- Lewes since day, April 2, at 1994. 4 p.m. "I think the Tsantes, 31, BASTIAN town council is lives on Kings losing a good Highway and works as a prosecu- person in Tony FORD Pratt and I think it's time for some new faces. My father was a naval officer and I grew up in an atmosphere of pub- lic service. I thought it was time to step forward and devote some tinfe to the city." Tsantes said she thinks it's very important to look carefully at the town's new long-range plan and see where a number of commit- tees working in the planning area overlap. "I think we definitely Continued on page 11