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April 11, 2008     Cape Gazette
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April 11, 2008
 

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8- CAPE GAZETI - Friday, April 11 - Monday, April 14, 2008 Dewey town council members debate FAR By Georgia Leonhart Cape, Gazette staff An attempt by the Dewey Beach Town Council to vote on a pro- posed town-wide floor area ratio of 1.2 was thwarted Saturday, April 5, in part because no one had a copy of the proposed ordinance. That met with criticism from residents. "There&apos;s only two items on this agenda. We should have had the ordinance. This is ridiculous," said area resident Marcia Schieck. "We don't have an ordinance to look at, evaluate or compare. It's a moving target that could result in hundreds, thousands or millions of dollars in lost property value," said Shawn Tucker, attorney for Dewey Beach Enterprises, the entity that owns Ruddertowne. "It's a screw-up," said Commissioner Diane Hanson. Despite a debate that has been continuing for many months, oth- ers said they were concerned the council was considering a vote just after having consultant Christopher Fazio make a presen- tation defining floor area ratio (FAR). Floor area ratio is obtained by dividing the total floor area of all buildings on a property by the square footage of the lot, said Fazio, representing town planners Remington, Vernick & Beach, Engineers. Complicating the apparently simple definition are changes attributable to the uses to which properties are put. A FAR ordi- nance may also offer exclusions for such things as attics, base- ments, accessory off-street park- ing and loading spaces, mechani- cal utility equipment areas, rest- rooms, stairs, and open-air and unenclosed decks. FAR supporters say an interim FAR is required to ensure that Dewey's architectural character and beachy streetscape remain unchanged until a new zoning code is approved at the end of this year. But some commissioners don't think a FAR is needed now, no matter how it is defined. "Don't current building set- backs, building height and parking requirements take care of it?" asked Commissioner Dale Cooke. "Yes," Fazio answered after estimating that all recent commer- cial development in Dewey had floor-to-area ratios of less than 1.2, which would allow the floor area of the buildings to be 20 per- cent larger than the lot area. Based on current setbacks, parking and other requirements, he said he found it hard to get up to 1.2 and does not believe anyone would be able to exceed 1.2 by any great amount. If current regulations impose a de facto 1.2 FAR, some supporters said that passing a referendum making it official should make no difference. "No one has explained the harm of putting in 1.2," said resident Courtney Riordan. Others disagree. "We don't need another tool. Parking, setbacks and tiers seem to be taking care of Power Continued from page 1 for us, on the other hand, we'll go do whatever we want and save our money where we can," Booth said. "If it's good for our state, then it should be good for our state gov- ernment," he said. When the state agencies tabled their vote last December, members of the Legislature had concerns over the costs for ratepayers. Estimates of price increases as a result of wind energy have varied. When legislators discussed it, Booth says the estimates they heard ranged from less than a dol- lar a month to $17 a month. Putting the state on board will narrow that price range, said Booth. And, it may soothe some concerns over the price impact to ratepayers, since the large cus- tomer base would drive the cost to individuals lower. With the state going into a tight budget year, the idea of picking up part of the tab for the Bluewater project might not appeal to every- one, Booth said. "But who pays for our shortfall anyway? The businesses and ratepayers do," he said. Booth wants policymakers and the state on a more level playing field with those people. "Policymakers say this is a great idea; it's good for the environ- ment. You can't do that and have the state buy the cheapest power available. It subverts what you have small businesses and resi- dents doing," he said. Delmarva Power has said, throughout the negotiating process, that it is unfair to ask standard offer service customers to bear the cost of Bluewater's proposed project. Standard offer service customers saw their rates go up 60 percent in 2006 When the utility was deregulated. The com- pany says it wants to find renew- able energy for its customers at the cheapest price available and had sought bids from onshore wind providers. However, Bluewater Wind says the cost of wind is stable and will not go up as fossil fuel prices are expected to. Power from the wind farm will cost more at the begin- ning due to construction costs and then decrease" as time passes, the company says. Booth's recommendation comes out in the wake of reports that a draft of a Senate Energy and Transit Committee report on the Bluewater project recommends the state sack the idea because the project would be too costly to ratepayers. Contact Leah Hoen.en at leah@capegazette.com. it," said Sea Esta Motel owner George Metz. "This whole FAR thing is a stupid way to go." A 1.2 FAR will also limit creative prop- erty use, Metz said. "The issue is property value," said Steve Montgomery, Starboard Restaurant owner. He said he uses his property value to collateralize other projects. "Wilmington Trust says we can lose 30 percent of our property value if you approve a 1.2 FAR." Residents and their representa- tives said they were also con- cerned the council might vote before Fazio presented informa- tion previously promised, such as realistic examples of floor-to-area ratios for four-story structures and for structures on large lots. They also said comparisons of permissi- ble property uses under the cur- rent town code and the proposed 1.2 FAR were to have bee n pro- vided. Those supporting the inter- im FAR said they want to get through the summer and preserve the town. Mayor Dell Tush said she is concerned that Dewey will become overdeveloped. "We don't want to lose the character of the town to McMansions," she said. "I keep hearing about preserv- ing the town, but two of three dis- tricts don't have a FAR now," said Cooke. In response to a statement that the interim FAR affects commer- cial districts and not residential Fundraiser for baseball boosters is April 14 A fundraiser for Cape Henlopen Baseball Boosters will take place 5- 9:30 p.m., Monday, April 14, at the Summerhouse Restaurant on Rehoboth Avenue, Rehoboth Beach. A percentage of the evening's pro- ceeds will benefit Cape's middle and high school teams. For details, call Jimmy Young, 302-222-7566. Lewes to hear emergency road evacuation plans The City of Lewes Hazard Mitigation Planning Team will host a forum to provide information on the Delaware Department of Transportation all-hazards evacuation plan. The presentation is 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 23, at the Lewes Public Library's second-floor con- ference room. Gene Donaldson, operations manager for Delaware's Department of Transportation (DelDOT) Management Center will pres- ent an overview of the state's transportation management program. He will discuss DelDOT's role during emergencies and natural disasters that might require local evacuation or evacuation of the entire Delmarva Peninsula. A copy of 'Disaster Preparedness Starts at Home,' a 12-page brochure designed by the City of Lewes to provide information, includ- ing a listing Sussex County evacuation routes, will be available. For additional information, contact Nelson Wiles at 645-7777. Don Foraker, It., CPA <> (800) <> HOW TO AVOID BEING SCAMMED! Wednesday, April 16th 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. Free Seminar. Healthy snacks provided, Topics: Identity Theft and How to Avoid It Identifying Potential Senior Financial Abuse and How to Prevent It Avoiding Telephone Solicitation Scams/Do-Not-Call Lists How to Detect Medicare Scarns and Report Them Presentations to be made by various state departments and agencies including the Attorney General's Office, DE Division of Services for the Aging, DE Money School Lutheran Church of Our Savior 7 Bay Vista Road - One Block off Fit. 1, behind Big Fish Grill Call 227-3066 for directions-or more information; districts where McMansions may be a concern, Tush said she ulti- mately wants a lower FAR in the residential districts. Emphasizing it was being rescheduled for the third time, Tush recommended the matter be placed on the agenda for the next meeting. The council unanimous- " ly agreed. The matter is scheduled for the town council meeting to be held at 9 a.m., Saturday, April 12, at 1 Dagsworthy St. Fazio is to present the requested comparisons and examples before a vote is taken. Contact Georgia Leonhart at g.l.leonhart@comcast.net. GEMS by] GIA credits: Diamonds Diamond Grading Colored Stones Essentials Colored Stones Gem Identification Course Diamond Diamond is probably the most popular and sought after stone[ Diamond, its name comes from the Greek adamas meaning invincible. Diamond is made up of one element, carbon. Diamond is one of the most valuable stones. Color rangeo axe typically yellow, brown, gray, and colorless. There is a scale for color that ranges from D-colorless through Z- yellow/brown. Less oftenthey occur in blue, green, violet, black, pink, purple, and red. Color results from different impurities which influence different colors. For example boron causes blue color and nitrogen causes yellow color. When a diamond has enough saturation of color like blue or yellow, they are calFed fandes. Diamond is used for the birthstone for April. It is also used for the 10th and 60th wedding anniversaries. Diamond rates a 10 on the Moh's scale, which is the hardest mineral. Hardness is defined as resistance to scratching. It is rated excellent for everyday wear. This probably contributed to its popularity for engagement and wedding rings, which are worn everyday. Toughness on diamond is good. Toughness s the resistance to breaking. Sources are Africa, Russia, Botswana, Australia, Canada, and The US. The largest producer by far is South Africa. Diamonds can be cleaned by steam cleaner, ultrasonic, and warm soapy water. As always, remember to have your jewelry cleaned and inspected every six months. Fifth Avenue Jewelers 302-645-0305 Pelican Square Shopping Ctr. (Next to Superfresh) ,' Rehoboth Beach, DE .