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June 2, 1995     Cape Gazette
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June 2, 1995

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16 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, June 2 - June 8, 1995 Slow process, but state plans to purchase Massey's Landing By Steve Hoenigmann For years, the deep ditch that connects Rehoboth Bay to Indian River Bay was a haven for boaters. But for the last several years, Massey's Landing, located at the end of Long Neck Road at Massey's Ditch, has been closed. The marina, along with gas pumps, a boat launch and a bait and tackle store that of- fered quick snacks was run by Lynn Faucett and the Faucett family for years, until competition from larger marinas forcea them to close. Over the last two years, ,the state and the Faucett family have been negotiating the purchase of the property. Lynn Faucett, in a recent interview, said his family and the state have reached an agreement on a sale price. The only roadblock left to settlement, he said, was resolving all the legal issues, such as dis- solving the corporation that operated Massey's Landing. Faucett said settle- ment could come as soon as September. Phil Carpenter, an environmental scien- tist and land acquisition agent for the Di- vision of Fish and Wildlife, this week confirmed that the state has agreed to a purchase price. But exactly when settle, merit can occur must await resolution of the legal issues and an application for fed- eral funds to purchase the land. Carpenter said the state will apply to the Wallop/Breaux Fund for the money need- ed to purchase the land. The Wallop/Breaux Fund is funded by the ex- cise tax on fishing equipment and gas, etc. used for outdoor recreation. The state must come up with 25 percent in match- ing funds which, according to Carpenter, should be "no trouble." "I'm doubtful that we'll go to settle- ment in September, but we can commit the funds," said Carpenter. "We really have not made any plans for the site, but I can say there will be a boat launch there. We're really not sure what amenities it will have. We have to get our engineers down there to assess the condi- tion of the place and determine just how much needs to be repaired and renovat- ed." Mobile home Continued from page 1 against broadened eviction pow- ers proposed in the report, and ex- pressed concerns over the land- lord's proposed right to write a new contract each year. Tenants also criticized a provision for non- binding arbitration in disputes be- tween landlords and tenants. But landlords - there were sev- eral prominent community owners present, including Rob Tunnell, Ken Clark, Terry Strine and his son, Andy - pressed committee members to submit the proposal unchanged to the General Assem- bly. Terry Strine addressed perpetu- al leases, saying that the long-term contracts created years ago can no longer apply to the times today. "The perpetual leases created back in that very simple time can't apply today," said Strine. "Things have changed dramatically in the last 50 years. You now have sew- er and water costs, and trash col- lection, all of which are rising in cost. A perpetual lease is bad for everyone involved. "We [landlords] must have the right to customize out leases to fit the community," Strine added. Ken Clark, president of the First State Housing Coalition and whose family has owned a park in Oak Orchard for more than 70 years, echoed SWine's support of the right to write a new lease each year. "Years ago we didn't have the problems that we have now. The park owner has to have the right to change leases. Park owners have to adapt to changes," Clark said. Rob Tunnell, owner of Tunnell Communities LP - the largest in the state of Delaware - supported a number of the proposed revi- sions, including the section on standards and the ability to change them at will. "I just want to remind you that the standards could not be applied to a tenant until he or she leaves the community," he said. He also supported the broad- ened eviction powers, noting in one case that he could not evict the tenant of a mobile home whose children had broken into 61 homes in his communities. Simi- lax concerns were expressed by others, including Kim Briggs, manager of a community in Wilmington, who said that under the current law a tenant has to be Arthur Shapiro, a resident of Angola Estates, makes a point to, from left, state Representa- fives Donna Stone, Debbie Capano, Bill Houghton, Arthur Scott and Nacy Wagner. notified of a violation and then has 10 days to correct, "then he can violate the rule again. With this, it's three strikes and you're out." Other park owners said that the proposed changes would make it easier for them to evict people convicted of such heinous crimes as child molestation or rape. Tunnell, who served on the Mo- bile Home Study Committee, also noted that the non-binding arbitra- tion provision "creates an avenue of compromise." But critics have asked what good is non-binding arbitration if the landlord doesn't have to comply with the decision. He then concluded his remarks with a question: "Why would I go through this process and sit on this committee to take away tenants' rights and hurt the industry?" But the landlords had a hard time convincing the tenants packed into the auditorium. 'Whe result of the study group's work is this mean-spirited propos- al," said Arthur Shapiro, a retired attorney who lives in Angola Es- tates. "I am unaware of any justi- fication being put forth why such extensive anti-homeowner legisla- tion is warranted, except perhaps, for some comments at these pub- lic hearings about the need to con- trol a minuscule number of had apple s among the homeowners." Joseph Newlin, co-chair of the Delaware Manufactured Housing Coalition and president of the An- gola Estates Tenants Association, drew a hearty round of applause when he issued the following statement. "In reviewing the minutes from the last public hearing in Re- hoboth Beach, we found the re- marks from Mr. [Larry] Clifford, director of communications at Tunnell Communities, in which he supports the passage of the study committee report into law. Further, he concedes that the [Jus- tice of the Peace] court system in Delaware will provide the checks and balances for this legislation. With all due respect to Mr. Clif- ford, the Coalition believes that this is exactly the wrong way to go with the proposed legislation. Does Delaware need another issue designed to further clog the court system? We think not. "With all due respect to the lawyers in the audience, is this a wise use of either the community operator or the tenant's financial resources. Hauling each other in- to court only drives the parties further apart. We need legislation that drives parties together to the mutual benefit of the homeowner and the operator. To craft legisla- tion, pass it into law with the caveat "let the courts deal with it" is simply irresponsible. Further, it begs the question: Why is there never time to get it right the first time, but we can always find time to do it over?" Other tenant representatives speaking at the meeting included Dennis Norwood, president of the Sussex County Mobile Home Tenants Association (SCMHTA); Jack Kilner, a former officer with SCMHTA; Russ Payne, a resident of Indian Landing; Dick Hannam, spokesman for SCMHTA and the Delaware Manufactured Housing Coalition; Nancy Stewart of Lynn Lee Village in Ocean View; Harry Bell, a resident of Angola Estates; and Marcene Gory, executive di- rector of the Delaware Manufac- tured Housing Association. In addition to Tunnell, Clark, Briggs and the Strines, landlord representatives included Marian Fetterman, a member of the Mo- bile Home Study Committee; Tr- ish Edwards, manager of a com- munity in New Castle County; and Steve Class and David Webb, both operators of parks in Sussex County. Though he's not a member of the Housing and Community Af- fairs Committee, state Rep. John Schroeder (D-Lewes) noted that nearly 50 percent of people living in Sussex County reside in mobile homes - many of them in his dis- trict. "There's only 14 days left in the General Assembly, and there's a tremendous amount of comments that have to be digested," he told the crowd. "I think the concern, Joe," said Schroeder addressing DiPinto, "is that something is going to be rushed through and introduced in the next 14 days. This is an issue of fairness. I have a real concern if we try to rush something through." While DiPinto said he had no intentions of rushing any legisla- tion through the General Assem- bly, he did say that the committee will review all the comments be- fore drafting a bill. A day after the hearing, Schroeder said: "My gut feeling is that he may get a bill out. But in terms of fairness to all the peo- ple involved in this process, he should not try to get anything out in the next 13 days." Long Range Continued from page 12 issue with the figures stating that $12 million in income is derived yearly from rentals, while only $6 million in retail sales. He won- dered if this included restaurants. While on the subject of rentals, he said he doesn't feel that those whose properties are primarily for rental and investment are "degrad- ed". Another topic was the Canal Walk, a public attraction along the canal, which the plan states could relieve oceanfront congestion. "Does anyone really believe that?" Cooper asked. Finally, he feels the plan's ref- erence to solving the parking problem: "a parking management plan should be prepared that en- compasses all potential alterna- tives and is resolved by all seg- ments of the community" is "a re- al walk on this issue - it decides nothing. Some hard decisions need to be made in the Long Range Plan," he said. But Sargent replied that the matter is "so controversial that anything we would put in would make half of the people hate it." Cooper was also critical of the statement regarding the suggested annexation of the area from the canal to Route One, as a means of "protecting the character of Re- hoboth. I feel it's a slap in the face to the area you want to annex. If it becomes part of the community it deserves the same amenities," rather than just providing a buffer. Hessemer cautioned that the de- tails should come later "during the marriage. You don't want to make it tremendously controver- sial. This is an idea." He added that he agreed that "controlled growth is like 'cancer with chemo'. It scares me. One square mile can't take the growth without bringing in West Rehoboth and that's like taking Mexico into the United States." Susan Cerf, president of the Re- hoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce, said that more people from outside of town are going to come in, especially given the growth on Route One, 'md unless you give everyone an ID badge, you will have to deal with it. You're in a dream world if you don't."