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Lewes, Delaware
Jim's Towing Service
May 23, 1997     Cape Gazette
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May 23, 1997

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d+AIE ridMt907 o r13 Twin boarding houses changing face of Lewes's Cape Henlopen Drive By Dennis Forney The construction of two tall buildings fronting on Cape Hen- lopen Drive and looking out over the mouth of Delaware Bay graphically illustrate Lewes's steady evolution toward becoming primarily a tourist town. Developed by Mike Makowski and marketed by Prudential Gallo Realty, the buildings - one up and the other coming - fall under a Lewes zoning provision which al- lows boarding houses in commer- cial/business zones of town. As such, the buildings may rise to a height of 40 feet - the allow- able height in a commercial zone. As boarding houses, the buildings, according to present Lewes zon- ing, must be occupied by their owners and may have no more than six rental rooms. No kitchen facilities are permitted in the rooms themselves. However, according to the boardinghouse definition of the Lewes zoning, the owner of the house provides meals to the lodgers from a central cooking fa- cility. The new three story building that is up and under new owner- ship - and the other that is on its way up and will be almost identi- cal in appearance to the first - stand in strong contract to the one story buildings removed to make way for them. The completed boarding house was purchased by Barbara Dawson who plans to call her facility Harbor Watch. The other is still for sale. Bill Massey, building inspector for Lewes, said the buildings meet city requirements and were also approved, from an appearance point of view, by the city's Com- mercial Architecture Review Commission (CARC). In allowing construction of boarding houses, Lewes's laws, as amended in 1986, place restric- tions on how the houses may be used. The laws specify that such boarding houses "shall not include homes for the mentally retarded, handicapped, alcoholic rehabili- tees or any other persons whose fees are paid by persons other than the lodger." Each of the buildings includes three rooms that can be rented out to boarders. That adds to the stock of rooms available in Lewes for transient guests. Lewes's stock of such rooms now includes several bed and breakfasts, several motels, dozens of summer rental houses and one other boarding house - The Bluewater House on the Lewes Beach section of Market Street. "I think Lewes should welcome boarding houses and bed and breakfasts," said Mike Makowski. "They bring a nice clientele to town and provide a little incubator buisness for some of the people moving here to retire. And they're an in-house business. The first one I built was purchased by a woman who has lived in Lewes for some time - Barbara Dawson." Dawson said she plans to live in her boarding house and looks for- ward to offering rooms and man- aging the business. She said she's actually marketing her boarding house as a bed and breakfast. At the same time, a 57-room motel is now working its way through the Lewes permitting process for possible construction on the site of the existing DeBraak building which the motel develop- ers have proposed razing to make way for their project. In ongoing discussions of new zoning laws, a new Lewes Beach District would include a residen- tial/commercial area where board- ing houses would continue to be permitted but whose height - as presently proposed - would be lowered to 34 feet as opposed to the existing 40 foot limitation. Those proposals, as part of a to- tal package of zoning proposals being prepared to reflect a Long Range Plan adopted by Lewes in 1996, are being firmed up in antic- ipation of public hearings and possible implementation in the next few months. Dennis Forney photo This photograph shows one of the new boarding houses - Harbor Watch (r) - constructed on Cape Henlopen Drive and a house now demolished making way for another boarding house of the same design as Harbor Watch Lewes planners set June 18 assisted living hearing Members of Lewes Planning Commission voted on Wednes- day, May 22 to hold a Wednes- day, June 18 public hearing on plans by Gilman Development/ Gracious Living Inc. for a major subdivision of 16.45 acres of land between Kings Highway and Sa- vannah Rd. for development of an assisted living project as well as an age-restricted developmeent of homes. The assisted living project would be constructed on about 6 ,acres fronting on Savannah Rd. with the age-restricted residential development to go on about 10.45 acres of land fronting on Kings Highway. The hearing will be held at 6:30 p.m. in city hall on East Third Street. The planners also elected offi- cers for the next year. Jim Bastian was re-elected as chairman of the planning commission while Nina Cannata was elected as secretary to fill the position of secretary. Jim Ippolito served previously as secretary. Ippolito was recently elected a Lewes Council member. ISylvia' Wicker & Candle Shopp Now Open Daily On Lewes Beach/ 304 East Savannah Road .+ 645 - 8117