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April 25, 1997     Cape Gazette
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April 25, 1997
 

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[ Ms I0 - CAPE , Friday, April 25- May I, 1997 Lewes committee discusses charter changes; no action taken By Dennis Forney The mayor of Lewes would be a member of the city council, would make all appoint- ments with the advice and consent of the other members of council, and would vote in all matters where a fie arose under pro- posed charter changes discussed Tuesday, April 22 by members of the Personnel Poli- cy Review Committee. Despite the discussion, no specific action was taken by members of the committee which would indicate when those charter changes might be taken before Lewes Council for a vote. Under current law, the mayor makes most appointments for such positions as city manager, police chief and various commit- tee assignments - though not all - however, he is not permitted to cast a vote in a num- ber of those key positions. Without the mayor's vote, the present situation allows for a tie vote such as currently exists in the matter of selection of a new police chief. Mayor George Smith appointed LL Ronald "Beau" Gooch to be the new police chief. The appointment drew the support of coun- cil members Jim Ford and Tony Pratt but was voted against by Council members George Cleaver and Elinor Sheehan. May- or Smith's appointment failed as a result of the tie and be has not made another appoint- ment since that appointment last spring. The situation has spurred plenty of debate in the meantime, including public debate at meetings and letters to the editors of local newspapers. Some people advocate changing the city charter to allow the mayor to vote in all tie situations while others feel the mayor al- ready has power in making the initial ap- pointments. Majority supports change The majority of the members of the per- sonnel policy review committee supports the charter changes and stated their posi- tions publicly a number of months back. Those members include council members Jim Ford and Tony Pratt, City Manager Elaine Bisbee and City Solicitor Tempe Steen. Councilwoman Elinor Sheehan, the final member of the committee, has steadfastly objected to the proposed changes. She con- tinued her objections at the Tuesday, April 22 meeting, vigorously. 'Whe mayor making all the appointments - it's like we're moving toward a dictator- ship," said Sheehan. "I'm sorry, but that's the way I feel. I wouldn't mind if the may- or discussed possible appointments with us in advance. If that had happened with the acting chief of police, We wouldn't be in this position now." "You have a responsibility to correspond with the mayor about appointments," said Councilman Jim Ford. "You're a member of this council." "I'd like to see some advance discussion somehow put in the law," said Sbeehan. Ed Zygmonski, a Lewes Council candi- date, stood up from his seat in the audience and read a statement regarding the proposed chatter changes. [See letters to the editor.] He said he supports the charter change re- garding the mayor being a member of coun- cil but said he felt the mayor should vote in all matters, not just when there's a tie vote. "If the Mayor is the highest elected official in the city, we should know how he or she stands on all issues and not only in matters of a tie vote...That way, as citizens, we can grade his or her performance and we can choose to re-elect or not based on that per- formance." Sheehan reacted sharply to Zygmonski's statement. "You don't have any right to comment on this," said Sheehan. "You don't know the facts of the situation. You weren't there." "Excuse me," said Zygmonski, "I certain- ly do have the right to comment. I'm a citi- zen of this community." "You don't know the facts," retorted Sheehan. Tony Pratt, chairman of the committee, said be believes that Sheehan continues to be the only dissenting voice on the commit- tee to the proposed charter changes. No ac- tion was taken, however, on sending the proposed changes to the entire city council for a vote. The next meeting of the committee was set for Thursday, May 22 at 7:30 p.m. DeBraak motel proposal seeks to echo Lewes's 19th century hotels By Demuis Fomey George Metz released a drawing this week of the proposed 57oroom motel he and two partners would like to build where the unfinished shell of the so-called DeBraak building stands on Lewes Beach. Metz and his two parmers - Jim Kyger of Selbyville and Mark Hardt of Bethany Beach - plan to present their proposal to members of the Lewes Connnercial Archi- tecture Review Commission on Thursday, May 1. To be built of post-tension con- crete, the building as proposed would stand 44 feet tall, compris- ing four and a half stories. That's about six feet taller than thepre- sent DeBraak shell and means that the building would require a zon- ing variance from the Lewes Board of Adjustment. The com- mercial zone where the property is located permits strucUa'es to be 40 feet tall. Metz said the motel pro- posal would also require a vari- anceto permit the construction to intrude into a sideyard setback on the Savannah Road side of the building. Mark Hardt designed the build- ing through his Sea Hawk Design and Technology Company of Bethany Beach. "Our plans call for the demolition of the De- Braak," wrote Metz in a letter to Lewes regarding the building. "In its place will beerected a 57 room motel modeled after the hotels of nineteenth century Lewes. The motel will house a conference room; a coffee shop [for motel guests]; a swimming pool; and will provide elevator service and bi-level parking facility. "We are confident that the ar- chitectural research done by Dale Clifton - former curator of the Zwaanendael Museum - will pay large aesthetic dividends; is his- torical in style and reflects the his- toric nature of Lewes." The building drawing shows the beach side of the proposed motel with a variety of architectural fea- tures designed to enhance its his- torical appearance. The miners of the building show a molded fea- ture which Metz said is called quoins [pronounced coins] remi- niscent of Dutch architecture. The Zwaanendael Museum in Lewes - a copy of the city hall of Hoorn, Holland - also features quoins at its corners. Ornamental "keys" tucked under the peaks on the front of the building also echo some of the Zwannendael's fea- tures as do the many-paned win- dows and doors across the front of the building. "We've reviewed the informa- tion given us by the Commercial Architecture Review Commis- sion," said Metz, "and have tried to address all concerns. The beau- ty of the construction materials we're using - concrete covered with Dryvit - is that they are very flexible and we can do just abut anything. Our goal is to build a structure that the people of Lewes feel good about." Partner Jim Kyger, who owns All States Construction Company in Selbyville, brings expertise in concrete and Dryvit work to the project. Metz noted that the facelift of Midway Shopping Cen- ter, now nearing completion, in- cludes the use of Dryvit for a tex- tured appearance as does the Re- hoboth Outlets in the L.L. Bean complex. The proposed motel incorpo- rates parking under the structure and a roof-top swimming pool open to the sky. Late obituary 32 beachfront rooms "I spoke to Betsy [Riemer] at Lewes Chamber of Commerce and she mentioned that Lewes currently has no beachfront mo- tels. She said people often end their search in Lewes at that point because they want to have the beach in front of their room." He dd the motel he and his partners "1 ] f I" [" Illl IIIllllllllllllllrlq'NIj 7-7 ..... l F---- 1 F---I , [ E C I" r- propose includes 32 rooms, about 12 1/2 feet by 24 feet, which front on the beach and' Delaware Bay. It also includes a fourth floor con- ference room looking over Delaware Bay that - at 30 feet by 47 feet - would accommodate about 200 persons for a meeting. Flexible walls would allow the room to be divided into smaller rooms for smaller meetings. "We're proposing a cobblestone driveway and landscaping around an earth tone-colored building - sand and green," said Metz. The owner and operator of three Sea Esta Motels in Dewey Beach and Rehoboth Beach, Metz bring motel business knowledge to the partnership. A 1978 graduate of Cape Hen. lopen High School, Metz grew up in the motel business after his grandparents, Alfred and Thelma Richardson, built the first Sea Esta Motel in Dewey Beach in 1961. George's parents, Carolyn and George Jr., took over the Sea Esta in 1982 and the business has been growing since then. The presentation before the Commercial Architecture Review Commission is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. Mike Makowski also plans to present revised plans for a building at the corner of Savannah Road and Bay Avenue, which he would like to consU'u where an- other building presently stands. This will be the second appear- ance by Makowski before CARC for his project which is, coinci- dentally, across the street from the motel project. Meanwhile Tom Payne of EDIS Company, width has contracted to sell the DeBraak building and land it stands on to the Metz part- nership, said this week he can- celed an appearance before Lewes Planning Commission scheduled for Wednesday, April 23 in light of the Metz proposal: Payne, who has been working with an infor- mal group of Lewes citizens inter- Florence B. Travers, retired teacher Florence B. Travers, age 94, of Milford, died Wednesday, April 23, 1997, at Milford Manor House. Mrs. Travers graduated from Lewes High School and the University of Delaware with a de- gree in teaching. Her long-time career began in Tom's River, NJ., ested in the DeBraak and sur- rounding land at the end of Savan- nah Road on a land use plan, said he plans to meet with Metz to dis- cuss how the new motel plans may fit in with a proposal for the larger parcel defined by Lewes Beach parking lot, Virginia Av- enue, Cape Henlopen Drive and Savannah Road Payue said EDIS still owns more than an acre of un- developed land in that area. "Assuming that the use and de- sign can converge with our con- cept," wrote Payne this week in a memo to members of the design committee, "I am extremely hope- ful that this prospective user can be the catalyst for the positive re- vival of the end of Savannah Road. then to Lewes, Milford, Lincoln and Frederica. She retired after 41 years of teaching. Mrs. Travers was very active in the Avenue U.M. Church. She is survived by a daughter, Constance T. Fisher of Milton; two sisters, Bertie Pepper of Milton and Beulah Reed of An- gola; a brother, George Bryan of Angola; and two granddaughters. Funeral services will beheld at 3 p.m., Sunday, April 27 in the chapel of Avenue U.M. Church, 20 N. Church St., Milford, where friends may call. at 2 p.m. also evident in Lewes's Zwaanendael Mtmemm. building, including the ornamental corner "quoins" and "keys" under the peaks, and the many-parted windows and doors, are intended to be reminiscent of a Dutch architectural style This drawing shows what the front (beach side) of thz motel propmei to take the plnee of the empty shell DeBraak building would look like. Some of the architectural features of this