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Lewes, Delaware
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August 1, 1997     Cape Gazette
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August 1, 1997
 

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DeBraa k Continued from page 1 Metz said rooms in the new mo- tel, which will be Lewes's first motel fronting directly on Delaware Bay, will run between $89 and $159 per night in the peak season. Roger Morgenthal, a member of the condominium association for Ocean House - across Savannah Road from the DeBraak site - said a decision on whether to appeal the Board of Adjustment ruling will wait until after he and attor- ney Vince Robertson have had a chance to read the written ruling. "They [Board of Adjustment members] wanted the motel no matter what," said Morgenthal, an attorney in Carlisle, Pa. who pre- sented objections at the July 22 public hearing. "We were never concerned about the appearance of what's proposed, only the height, and that's still a concern. The precedent worries me. They've given us a decision that we can appeal successfully if we want. But we're going to take a look at the written decision and try to approach this as fairly as possible from the point of view of what's best for the community. I'm not looking to spoil anything for anyone," said Morgenthal. "I usually argue these cases from the other side, for develop- ers, so I know what these guys are going through to try to do this pro- ject. And after 24 years of prac- ticing law I'm not surprised by the decision." Members discuss points Board of Adjustment members discussed the proposed motel pro- ject and its requested variances extensively before casting their votes. They gave many reasons why they felt variances were ap- propriate to allow four floors in- stead of three, a height of 46 feet instead of 40, and a half foot set- back along an unnamed alley in- stead of a forty foot setback. But when all was said and done, the fact that no other viable pro- ject has been proposed for the site of what many call an "eyesore" in its eight years of vacant existence seemed to hold most sway in in- fluencing their reasoning. "The property we're talking about is one of the cornerstones of the City of Lewes beachfront," said Board of Adjustment member Bill Stevenson. "We heard last week from Daria at Kupchick's Restaurant, next door to the site, [at the public heating July 22] that over the years a number of limou- sines have pulled up in front of the DeBraak shell and people got out and made a number of inquiries about how the building could be used as constructed. Then they silently got back in their limou- sines and went home. No one else has come up with other possible specific uses. It all leads me to believe there is a legitimate hard- ship related to that property. This is the first hard proposal since the building was built eight years ago .... I don't want to continue to expand the flat roof, downtown industrial ghetto appearance on a beach I consider the finest in the world. The height variance is very justifiable as are the floor and setback variances." "My gut feeling is that what is proposed will be a success and I don't see why the variances should be denied," said member Joe Stewart. "It appears that the HKM proposal is the best solution that has come so far down the pike and I believe an overwhelming majority of the citizens of Lewes feel we should do something about the building that's there." Cupp adds more Board of Adjustment Chairman Harvey Cupp added further to the same line of thinking: "The plot we're looking at is about three tenths of an acre. It's small but valuable and there are limited uses in the C-2 zone where it's located and a motel is one of those. Peo- ple have kicked around all kinds of other ideas but in the mean time a very valuable site sits empty producing nothing for the commu- nity or its citizens. What's there is not attractive and most want the building removed. -I understand the objections but this is a better proposal than what's there and it's better than a big square with a flat roof. A gable roof as is proposed is better looking than a flat roof and safer in storms. There are physical and natural reasons for a gable roof," said Cupp, justifying his support for a height variance which will allow construction of a gable roof. "And no other propos- al - absolutely nothing - has come along in eight years. This also looks like it could be a viable pro- Members of the HKM Partnership developing the DeBraak property include (l-r) Mark Hardt, George Metz and Jim Kyger. ject. The people of Lewes don't want hamburger joints or bars that would come and go over the years. Businesses that go bank- rupt only cause a black eye for a community." Cupp also noted that the propos- al uses a variety of innovative technologies to keep the height down to as low as possible. "No code can be adhered to strictly," said Cupp finally. "We have to look at what's the best we can do, what can we tolerate? That's what the Board of Adjust- ment is for. And we only have CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, August 1 - August 7, 1997 - one proposal to review. It would be nice to see more but there are none. It would be nice to see the project smaller and lower but we can't have our cake and eat it too. It has to be worthwhile for the in- vestors." All three members cast favor- able votes for the height and set- back variances while Cupp cast the only negative vote of the day when he voted no to the variance for four floors instead of three. "I don't know why," said Cupp. "I'm just not comfortable with that part." 17 HKM Partners will meet with the Lewes Commercial Architec- ture Review Commission (CARC) on Thursday, Aug. 7 to discuss signage, lighting and landscaping for the project. Then on Wednes- day, Aug. 20 the Lewes Planning Commission will review the motel plans. HKM Partners include George Me'tz who operates three motels in Dewey Beach and Rehoboth Beach; Jim Kyger of All States Construction in Bethany Beach; and Mark Hardt of SeaHawk De- sign Builders of Bethany Beach. Stuart 1930 Locoted ot Se tlo end of Se Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk next to the Henlo Hold Slore hours: Mon- Sat lOam to Spin & 7:30pm to lOpm Sun 7pm to lOpm Call (302)227-2524 JACK SALIN FOR COMMISSIONER (302) 227-8477 "Experienced Candidate with the capability, time and desire to serve you, the People of Rehoboth Beach." YOUR FRIEND AT CITY HALL Retired but Active Consulting Engineer Fully Qualified through Training and Action in Municipal Matters Emphasizes Good Financial Planning along with Implementation of Our Long Range Plan ,, Anxious to Maintain Our Unique Family Atmosphere Along with a Vibrant Business Community PLEASE VOTE FOR ME Saturday, August 9, 1997 Rehoboth Beach Convention Hall 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.