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Lewes, Delaware
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April 5, 1996     Cape Gazette
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April 5, 1996
 

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t - l dl giaqA -  iiaq& ,xabPtl ,XffIXt.D Hq/o 10 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, April 5 - April 11, 1996 Three seek election to two Lewes Board of Public Works seats By Dennis Forney The-Lewes polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, April 6 for the annual Lewes Board of Public Works (BPW) elec- tion. Voters have three candidates to choose from for the two seats up for election this year. Incumbents Mike Hill and Tom Mc- Clain are seeking re-election to the board. Hill has more than 20 years experience as a BPW member while McClain has served since 1982. Bennett, 50, is a newcomer to Lewes pol- itics. He's aimed his sights on winning two seats in the town's spring elections. He would like to take one of the seats held by McClain and Hill and is also running for a seat on Lewes Council in the May 11 elec- tion. (According to research done by Lewes historian Hazel Brittingham, the last person to simultaneously hold a Lewes city gov- ernment seat and a seat on the Board of Public Works was Dr. James T. Thompson who in 1916 served as mayor of Lewes and president of the Board of Public Works.) There are 764 voters registered to vote in the April 6 election. Jud Bennett Bennett, in filing for a Board of Public Works seat, said he feels there are many ar- eas where city government and Board of Public Works operations cross. "It makes gense to me to have a member serving on both boards. There are projects, like those involving streets, that-involve city and BPW operations. They need some coordi- nation and having a member serving on both boards would offer that. And I'm the kind of guy who makes deci- sions and can move quickly. I have the abil- ity to make proper deci- sions and I won't pro- crastinate. If Washing- ton Street needs to be fixed, it will be fixed. I'm willing to listen to BENNETT people and help them if I can with what I hope is good judgement at this point in my life. I'm a wealth of expe- rience - I know what not to do." Bennett said he's heard from a number of residents of the so-called satellite commu- nities - newer developments of Lewes such as Pilottown Park and Bay Breeze. "A lot of these people feel they're not getting the services being received in other areas of town. "If their streets need fixing up I'm for fixing them up. But I'm not for deplet- ing the town's reserve funds. I think those developments do need some more consider-' ation." Bennett said he would like to work to keep utility rates down, plan for emergen- cies, and supports the work to convert the city's electric system from 4,160 volts to 12,000 volts. He makes his living as a member of the Pilots Association for the Bay and River Delaware and lives on Savannah Road. Mike Hill Mike Hill, 60, operates the Cape Hen- lopen Motel on Lewes Beach and lives on Hoornkill Avenue. "I've never lived anywhere else in my life and I'm proud of Lewes and the Board of Public Works," said Hill. "We have the lowest sewer, water and electric rates in the state and we're in a strong financial posi- tion. We're upgrading HILL the town's electrical system from a 4,160 volt to a 12,000 volt system that will provide better service and "eliminate the need for two of our four sub- stations. That will mean fewer problems when there are outages. In short, I feel the Board of Public Works does a good job for the citins of Lewes and I enjoy serving." Hill noted that even though the BPW i s in the midst of a major electrical system con- version, the cash reserves grew last year from $1.7 million to $2 million. "And we're facing a million dollar upgrade of our sewer plant in about five years. We're so strong fiscally that we won't have to bor- row to make that upgrade. The average res- idential customer in this town pays about $100 a year for water and electric. You can't even maintain a septic system and well for that little. I don't see any reason to upset the apple cart at this point. Our sys- tem is operating well." Hill said he is always available to the people of Lewes and works to solve prob- lems. "If someone has a concern we look it over and if a solution's possible, we will do it." Tom McClain Tom McClain, 57, a bus contractor for Cape Henlopen School Dis- trict, feels like Hill, that the BPW is a smooth running opera- tion providing excel- lent service and rates to the residents of Lewes. "We've worked hard to MCCLAIN keep our rates low and our service responsive," said McClain.. "If there's a rate case in Dover that needs our attention, I go there," said McClain. "We have a strong group of employees that do their jobs well. I think one of the real strengths of Lewes is that its utilities board is operated independently from the other city functions. We give the utilities our to- tal attention and that's one of the reasons our system does run so well. I like serving as a member of the Board of Public Works and feel I do a good job. That's why I'm seeking another term." McClain lives on Burton Avenue with his family. His fellow members on the Board of Public Works have elected him as their presiding officer for the past several years. Board of Public Works terms are for two years. Established in '1901, the Board of Public Works is a five person elected body that governs the electric, water and sewer opera- tions of the town. According to McClain only one other town in Delaware - New Castle - has a separate elected body over- seeing its utilities operation. Development Continued from page 1 hereby adopts a policy that the Sussex County Planning and Zow ing staff shall not accept any pre- liminary site plans or rezoning re- quest for the Rt. 1 corridor, from Red Mill Pond to the Lewes/Re- hoboth Canal, until the applicant has received an entrance location approval from DelDOT. The Sus- sex County Council believes this procedure will provide for better intergovernmental communica- tions that will have a long-term benefit for all of the businesses lo- cated on Rt. 1," according to the resolution. "I am thrilled by this," said County Councilman George Cole. Mike Tyler, the president of the Citizens Coalition, was also pleased by the decision. "It's a good start... I think the era of lip service is over and the lines [of communication] are open." Cole said the decision is fairer to everyone, including potential developers. "It helps everybody." The policy was adopted by a 5-0 vote by County Council, although President Dale Dukes wondered if the decision would just force de- velopment to move elsewhere, such as north of Nassau. Stickels said the trend for devel- opment is to creep north anyway. (Corridor preservation by Del- DOT limits the amount of new en- trances or exits which can be placed from Nassau to Milford on Rt. 1.) That decision to wait for Del- I DOT approval left a motel and re- tail space proposed by Donald Derrickson unsure of its exact sta- res. Derrickson has proposed the project for a parcel of land created when the alignment of Postal Lane was changed. He plans a 100-unit motel and a pair of smaller commercial areas on the triangle of land between Midway Assembly of God Church and Postal Lane. Derrickson said he has spoken to Sussex County Planning and Zoning Director Lawrence Lank about his project, but he is uncer- tain how the new policy will af- fect him. The project is somewhat unique because it fronts on Rt. 1, but is not requesting an entrance or exit from Rt. 1. It also already has an existing entrance created by Del- DOT during the realignment of the Postal Lane project. "It's low traffic and it's [the en- trance] already built," Derrick, son said. "I don't really think it's a problem." In other development related news, a proposed Lowe's store proposed for Rt. 1 and Rt. 275 at Five Points, was deferred by Sus- sex County Planning and Zo. ning on March 28. Lowe's has proposed a 148,298 square foot store for the site and had come before the county for preliminary commercial site plan approval. The Planning and Zon- ing Commission deferred action on the project until they received comments from DelDOT. That ac- tion was anticipated and is similar to actions that were taken with Sussex County Administrator Bob Stickels addresses the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce on the subject of development, growth and planning, along with Dave Hugg, state planning director, on April 3. other large projects, namely the expansion of the Rehoboth Outlet Center and Wal-Mart. Also this week: The Citizens Coalition is on the agenda for the Rehoboth Com- missioners on April 12 and on the agenda for Lewes City Council on April 8. The agenda for Lewes' meeting says Tyler will be re- questing Lewes to support the Cit- izens Coalition's "request of a limited moratorium on all com- mercial development from the county line at Milford to the Maryland line and from the bay and ocean on the east to within two miles west of Route 113." The Coalition asked for a mora- torium last month until Sussex completes it comprehensive land use plan, which is scheduled to be finished by the end of the year. The County Planning and Zoning Commission will consider a new C-2 zone proposed for pro- jects such as. large outlet malls or superstores at its meeting on April 11. The proposed zoning would establish a new commercial zon- ing (the county currently has just one commercial zone) with addi- tional requirements for projects over 80,000 square feet in size. The expansion of the Rehoboth Outlet Center, for example, was proposed to be approximately 150,000 square feet in size. It does not impact Sussex, but Stickels told the County Council that legislation has been intro- duced into the General Assembly which would prevent New Castle County from rezoning property in high density traffic areas without the approval of DelDOT and both houses of the Delaware Legisla- ture. Both the Rehoboth Beach- Dewey Beach Chamber of Com- merce and the Sussex County As- sociation of Towns on Wednesday heard about efforts to increase planning and cooperation between local, state and county officials to deal with issues like growth. Stickels and State Planning Di- rector Dave Hugg addressed the Chamber of Commerce while Governor Tom Carper spoke to SCAT on Wednesday. At both meetings, officials spoke about the need for planning and cooper- ation. "We can be smart about this or we can be foolish," said Carper. "We've let a lot of development take place where we can't support it."