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April 10, 1998     Cape Gazette
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April 10, 1998

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Heavy rainfall downfall of Lewes church - pg. 14 ] Delaware's Cape Region Friday, April 10 - Thursday, April 16, 1998 Volume 5, NO. 46 Beach loss cost: $73 million in tourism, property value By Michael Short Rep. John Schroeder, D-Lewes, wants to act quickly on this week's report that Delaware stands to lose $43 million in property value if it does not replenish its beaches. "I want to tie this up well before the end of the legislative session," Schroeder said. Schroeder was speaking to members of the beach replenishment task force, which reconvened on April 7 to hear the results of an economic study on beach replenishment. Rehoboth accepts bid fotBoardwalk repair; _: work begins next week By Trish Vernon Rehoboth Beach officials began re- crunching the numbers when they opened the lone bid on Tuesday, April 7, for the Boardwalk repairs. The bid, from James Julian Inc. of Wilmington, came in at $436,900, which was considerably higher than the $300,000 the city estimated. However, by the time the special meeting to approve a bid rolled around Thursday afternoon, April 9, Rehoboth Beach City Manager Greg Ferrese had broken out the figures, taking four items out of the bid and either contracting directly or having the work done under the direction of the city, saving $50,000 off the initial bid. With the Federal Emergency Manage- ment Agency (FEMA) agreeing to pick up three-fourths of the cost of the reconstruc- tion, Ferrese estimates that the city will spend $86,000, only $11,000 more than it had allowed for in its budget. This will come from the city contingency fund. Following the bid opening, Ferrese spoke with Julian representatives, who agreed to amend their bid, thus removing from their proposal the rebuilding of all steps, street Continued on page 15 That study, which may well have far- reaching effects, stopped short of saying who should pay the price of maintaining Delaware beaches, and it didn't endorse beach replenishment. But it laid out the economic pros and cons and made it very clear that Delaware's beaches have an utterly massive impact on the Cape Region economy. Who should pay is expected to be the biggest question, and Schroeder expects the task force to convene again in as little as two weeks to discuss the issue. He said he would like to at least move beyond studying the issue. "[By contrast], we have studied the inland bays for 20 years, and there are still groups who want to study the inland bays." The following, expected to be the results over a five-year period if the state does nothing to nourish its beaches, are a few highlights of the economic study: With no action, the average rate of erosion for Delaware beaches is approximately 2 to 4 feet a year. $43 million lost in property values $30 million in lost tourism income 268,500 fewer visitors $11.5 million in lost wages $2 million lost in state and local receipts 625 jobs lost Suggestions for who should pay are already starting to fly fast and furiously with several ideas mentioned on April 7. Director of Delaware's Division of Soil Continued on page 13 Angie Moon photo Preparing for the resurrection with annual Rehoboth Beach tradition Each Holy Week, members of he Rehoboth Beach Kiwanis Club hold the "Greening of the Cross" at the Bandstand in preparation for Easter. Up to the task are (l-r) Tony Perrello, Art Pressl and Jim Addison. By Dennis Forney Sussex County Superior Court Judge T. Henley Graves asked a number of questions at the April 3 special hearing regarding the pro- posed Dolphin Bay motel project in Lewes. But he hammered on one. Is there or is there not a FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) height limit that should have been applied to the proposed plans for the controversial bayfront proposal, when zoning variances for the project were being considered? Those appealing the Lewes Board of Adjustment decision to grant variances allowing the 46- foot, 58-room project to go for- ward, say that the limit does exist in the laws of Lewes and that it should have been heeded in the process. Those who argue that the vari- ances should stand say the issue wasn't part of the variance process, that it wasn't raised by Lewes Building Inspector Bill Massey as a problem and that regardless, it doesn't apply to this situation. In the meantime, Lewes Mayor and Council have an agenda item for their Monday, April 13 meet- ing, which is intended to clear up the language that may have led to the question in the first place. Graves said he had enough doubt in his mind to ask for more information. He gave representa- tives of both sides of the issue until next Monday, April 13, to either agree on whether the 30.5 limit has any bearing, or make arguments supporting their posi- tions. Representatives said this week that they still disagree on the mat- ter and will be presenting written positions to the judge. The judge will then decide whether to hold a special hearing to satisfy his con- cem about the issue. "If FEMA dictates a 30.5-foot height limit in the area where this project's proposed, we can't bury our heads in the sand and forget it. We have to meet it head on. If there is a 30.5-foot height limit, and this goes forward, would this jeopardize getting federal funding in emergencies? In Bethany, they said that if something wasn't done Continued on page 16 Judge questions FEMA role in Lewes motel project