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July 14, 2000     Cape Gazette
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July 14, 2000
 

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CAPE  Friday, July 14, July 20, 2000 . 19 Lewes extends canalfront development moratorium Irish Eyes at Anglers By Dennis Forney The moratorium putting a hold on all commercial projects in the Lewes canalfront area for the past half a year has been extended for another 90 days. So far the moratorium is hold- ing up only one project. Accord- ing to Lewes Building Official Bill Massey, the Anglers Irish Eyes restaurant operation wants to expand its facility to add a" ban- quet room. "They are the only ones we are hurting at this point," said Massey. "With the moratori- um in place, they can't expand the present footprint of their build- ing." City Councilman Jim Ippolito made the motion to keep the moratorium in place during the Monday, July 10, meeting of Lewes Mayor and Council. "The city has been successfully moving along in its efforts to come up with new zoning for the canal- front area. Negotiations are un- derway on both sides of the canal to settle various issues. A morato- rium is a to01 to use to protect the expansion delayed town during change. To not con- tinue now would be foolish. I'd say we will be able to wrap up the changes we are working on in the next 90 days." Council members voted unani- mously to extend the moratorium through midnight on Oct. 16. The moratorium could then be lifted or re-established at the October meeting of Mayor and Council which will be Monday, Oct. 17. Mayor George H.E Smith noted that the moratorium can be lifted before that date if zoning work gets completed. Negotiations to which Ippolito referred involve the Anglers bo,tt- yard property on the beach side of the canal and the Lewes Boatyard property on the mainland side of the canal. Town officials are negotiating with Anglers owner J.B. Walsh on a settlement to finally decide which of the current boatyard and storage areas Walsh will be able to continue to use and which areas will have to be returned to their natural state. Lewes filed for an Lee: state should take better control of the environment By Jim Cresson Looking out over the soft sunset colors on Re- hoboth Bay, Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee had some hard words.Wednesday, July 12, say- ing it is time the state plays a stronger role in protect- ing the fragile environment. During remarks at his first town meeting, held in the Rehoboth Bay Sailing Association clubhouse, Lee said the inland bays are a "special paradise that will always attract people, unless we let them die from pollution; and if that happens, our fantastic re- sort towns will surely die with them." Noting the pressures and stresses that over decades have given rise to nutrient overloads, algae blooms, fish kills and closures of shellfishing and swimming areas in Rehoboth and Indian River bays, Lee said if elected governor he would launch a well-financed and well-focused state effort to stop the pollution and preserve the pristine nature of Delaware's natural re- sources. "This is not a matter of laying blame to develop- ment or farming or municipal sewer plants or nearby power generating plants," Lee said. "This is a matter of the state taking an unprecedented leadership role in the crucial issues of land use and environmental protection." Lee explained his plan of attack: "If we tell farm- ers not to spread manure on their crop land, we must compensate them for their losses. If we tell munici- palities to improve their wastewater treatment plants even more than they have, we must help them pay for the highest standards of sewage treatment technolo- gy available. That's what we have to do; that's how we must do it, and I know we Can do it. The governor must take a strong stand, and the state must take re- sponsibility in the effort." Addressing the shoreline erosion issue that the En- vironmental Protection Agency cited this month as critical in Delaware, Lee said: "There is no doubt we have shoreline erosion problems, but the answer lies in replenishing them, not giving up in retreat, Our Dennis Forney photo The moratorium in place in Lewes affects the commercially-zoned properties fronting on both sides of the canal, pictured here looking west. injunction several months ago seeking a court order to halt Walsh from continuing his expan- sion of boatyard storage area into lands of disputed ownership. Since the injunction request was filed, negotiations were initiated to try to reach a settlement out of court. On the mainland side of the canal, the City of Lewes has been worng with the Greater Lewes Foundation to secure ownership of the 1.29-acre Lewes Boatyard property for the city as a park area. Lewes Council members voted recently to spend $500,000 of its $3 million reserve toward the 2.3 million purchase. The State of Delaware's Divi- sion of Parks and Recreation has chipped in an additional $500,000 toward the purchase. In the mean time the Greater Lewes Founda- tion has launched a fundraising campaign to raise $500,000 local- ly for the project and is meeting with a number of other organiza- tions to secure additional funding. The moratorium only affects commercially-zoned areas fronting on the canal from Free- man Highway Bridge west to the old Veasey's Inlet up the Broadkill River. PSC meets with future " Jim Cresson photo Retired Superior Court judge and guberna- torial candidate Bill Lee launched his first town meeting, July 12, with some tough talk on the enviornment to about 24 people at the Rehoboth Bay Sailing Associaiton clubhouse. beach is a natural resource we have to protect, not just for the oceanfront homeowners, but for the en- tire state. And if we have to put sand on the beach every year, we should do it. If the federal govern- ment won't help us pay for that, the state should pay for it. It's too critical an issue to play politics with; it has to be done." Speaking of the politics involved in what Lee ac- knowledges as critical issues, he reminded the pub- lic: "The inherent weakness of democracy is that we'll be governed by a mob, which hasn't happened. The next worse thing is to be governed by big mon- ey and special interests, and that is a scenario that could well happen." He continued: "Take, for instance, the political groups and forces that have stopped real progress on resolving our inland bays problems. One group wants to do something good for the bays, and anoth- er wants to protect constituents' interests. We have to stop that political foot-dragging. The state needs to take control; it's a state obligation and there's no way around it. We can't let bureaucrats or lawyers or ca- reer politicians debate the issues much longer. We need to get to work quickly, and we need a governor who is ready to stand strong and be a leader." owners of IR power plant By Jim Cresson The proposed $800-million sale of Conectiv's Indian River Power Plant and other smaller electric generating facilities in Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey will be the subject of a close scrutiny by the Delaware Public Service Commission (PSC) before it is al- lowed to proceed. PSC Chairman Drl Robert J. McMahon said Thursday, July 13, he had met with representatives of the prospective power plant buy- ers, NRG Energy, based in Min- neapolis, and "was very im- pressed with and encouraged by their commitment to purchase the Conectiv facilities." McMahon said the process of PSC review, which he said would be a full and public evidentiary hearing by the commission and its staff, should allow the people of Delaware, and especially Sussex County, to understand the benefits of having new ownership for the Indian River Plant. "I've been a big critic of Conec- tiv's operation of that plant, as has Sen. George Bunting, as we both have recognized over the past year just how inefficiently that operation has been run," McMa- hon said. "The issue of that generating plant is very important to all of Delaware, but especially to Sus- sex County, where I live," he said.- "The PSC has stressed how im- portant Indian River is to this county and how we want to see that jewel of a river unthreatened by the pollution that has been coming out of Conectiv's power plant for years. I'm hoping that NRG will bring new energy to that plant's operation after the pur- chase." Bunting said he still is waiting for the meeting with NRG offi- cials he requested in a May 28 let- ter. "To date, they have not even re- sponded to my letter, and I'm anx- ious to talk with them," he said. "I want to know what exactly they have in mind for the Indian River Power plant pollution and whether they will keep the local emPloyees out there." Bunting added that from what he knows about NRG Energy, he considers it "a very impressive and big organization with techno- "logical expertise that Conectiv probably lacks," But he added that the growing public sentiment over the amount of pollution coming from the Indian River Power Plant stacks "is greater now than ever before and we want some hard an- swers on some key issues of con- cern." The PSC hearing and decision on whether to approve the NRG Energy purchase is a requirement before the utility transaction can be finalized. PSC's decision will then be forwarded to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Once the sale is complete, NRG Energy - a public held company on the New York Stock Exchange - will not be accountable to the state commission. .........................................