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August 8, 2003

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20 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, Aug. 8 - Aug. 14, 2003 Rehoboth voters head to the polls Saturday, Aug. 9 Polls open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Convention Center By Trish Vernon Saturday, Aug. 9, is the day when voters in Rnhoboth Beach will decide whether to send two incumbents, Don Derrickson and Kathy McGuiness, back to sit in the Board of Commissioners, or elect one new mem- ber, Henry DeWitt, to serve along with ei- ther of the two incumbents. DeWitt, who owns a software develop- ment company, is a Maryland resident who spends increasingly more time at his Co- lumbia Avenue home in Rehoboth Beach. A navy veteran with a PhD in computer sci- ence from UCLA, De- Witt and his wife pur- chased their Rehoboth home in 1987. A mem- ber of Rehoboth Beach Main Street, the Re- hoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of DEWITT Commerce, Sussex Family YMCA and Rehoboth Homeowners Association, DeWitt has spoken out on such issues as the Neighborhood Preserva- tion Ordinance and the Comprehensive De- velopment Plan. Derrickson, a Rehoboth Beach native, lives outside Lewes and owns the Sandeas- fie Motel in town and the Heritage Inn near Midway. A former Naval aviator with a de- gree from Northeast Louisiana State Col- lege, Derrickson is a past president and di- rector of the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Com- merce, chairman of the city Parking Advisory Committee and serves on the city Personnel Committee, Bandstand, Convention Hall and Special Events Commit- tee and Water and Sewer Committee. DERRICKSON McGuiness, a Re- hoboth Beach native who lives in Henlopen Acres, owns property within the city and is a graduate of Florida Institute of Technolo- gy with another bachelor of science in phar- macy from Northeastern University. Former owner and operator of Rehoboth Pharmacy, she is founding board president of Rehoboth Beach Main Street, where she now serves as treasurer and chairman of the Fourth of July MCGUIHESS fireworks, Community Unity Dinner and Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony. She is also a former Rehoboth Beach Homeowners vice president, a former Sus- sex Family YMCA board member and serves on the city's Bandstand, Convention Hall and Special Events Committee, Parks and Shade Trees Committee and Street and Light Committee. DeWitt has cited growth and density as major issues facing the city and believes that the board should look toward reducing the allowed density. He has stated that he supports the draft Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) as written and said he will work to imple- ment it in a timely manner if elected. He has pointed out that he would not support an increase in property taxes until property is reassessed and if there is no political will to eliminate the inequalities in assessments, he believes the city should consider elimi- nating the tax when it becomes an insignifi- cant source of revenue. Derrickson sees Phases II and HI of the Rehoboth Avenue Streetscape Improve- ment Project as a major issue facing the city - finding enough funding and minimizing the impact on the merchants by doing the sanitary sewer work one winter and the roads and sidewalks the next. While in sup- port of the CDP, Derrickson has been vocal about the need to reword some of the lan- guage, such as changing the wording "will be rezoned" to "will hold a rezoning hear- ing." He also believes the city should continue to negotiate with the state over the future use of the elementary school property to find an equitable solution should the school district decide to move the school. A third area of concentration, he has said, is the need to find and properly train a new build- ing inspector. McGuiness, who is completing her first three-year term on the board, also feels guiding the Streetscape Improvement Plan and adoption and implementation of the Comprehensive Development Plan are two major areas of focus. Also topping her list are parking and traf- fic concerns and revisions to the city code that are amenable to both residents and businesses. Concerning the streetscape, she would like the state to earmark $1 million from property taxes for the project and to mini- mize impact on the merchants she believes they need less obstructive fences, better communications between the contractor and the businesses and make a concerted effort for the local community to support the downtown merchants. DeWitt, known as the Sandpiper for his bagpiping prowess, has been using the campaign slogan "Keep the Best, Improve the Rest," and said he has been receiving very positive feedback during the cam- paign. Derdckson, who has served nine years as a city commissioner, has been manning a very low key reelection campaign, in his usual manner. H eand the other two candi- dates have appeared at both the Rehoboth Beach Homeowners Association and Re- hoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce forums. McGuiness, who is stressing her accessi- bility and behind the scenes work on behalf of the citizens, has said she is receiving a lot of support for her reelection as she talks to the voters. Polls will be open in Rehoboth Beach Convention Center from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Aug. 9. Planners Continued from page 1 That same evening, the planners adopted a resolution to notify Ferrese of their con- cerns and Ferrese told them their only recourse was the Board of Adjustment. "I don't think any of us has any desire to inflict harm or problems on the developers of Joseph's Cottages, but this is an extreme- ly important issue and now we're in a situ- ation I don't think anybody likes," said planner Harvey Shulman. "A few large lots remain and if access by a private way is included in the lot area when considering the number of units it affects density and needs to be specifically addressed." Shulman cited previous legal decisions that back up excluding access ways from allowable density, noting "it's a general rule not to include streets in the lot size, whether they are public or private." He also cited Rehoboth Beach's zoning code, noting that 10 feet from either side of the center of a private or public street is dedicated as the street line. Shulman also stressed the need for the planners to take the authority of the build- ing and licensing department to a higher level. "Too often we've been told if the building inspector views something one way, the planners shouldn't go the other way, making it difficult to make the right planning decisions. In my view, too many important decisions are left ultimately to the building inspector. when we deal with subsequent applications it's going to be hard to get away from that precedent," he continued. "We may be told our hands are tied and if we try to change the interpretation we'll be in legal trouble. There" s n o doub t we" a.,affec.:b.Y, decision to issue a building permit with everything else that comes before us." Shulman added, that he believes the Board of Adjustment has an objective view of the law and has faith in that government body. "If they rule our way, the applicant can go to court and if not, we have to decide if we want to go to court," he said. He interpreted that the state code gives the planners as a government body the authority to appeal the issuing of a building inspector and said they may be forced to hire their own attorney while the appeal is pending if they need legal advice from someone not involved in the issue. Shulman did say he would be happy to consider withdrawing the appeal if City Solicitor Walt Speakma was directed to clarify the present ordinance. Planner Jan Konesey,, who served as a city commissioner in the 1990s, recalled the city was sued twice and lost over past building inspectors' deei:sions. "We should have dante this back then - there have been a lot of decisions people are unhappy with and the pressures to develop are phenomenal. Someone needs t say we won't continue in such a haphaz- ard way and we need to, take a look at the professionalism of the ]building inspector department because it has a profound impact on the quality of life in Rehoboth," she said. "Some builderss know the law and are happy to get a buildling inspector who allows them to do what tthey want." Newly appointed planner Bill Richardson, who, like Slnulman, is an attor- ney, sa/d while he is very sympathetic to the arguments presented, "I'm still hung up on how the board is affected by the issuance of a building permit." He believes that the building permit was issued following long standing procedures and not prohibited by ing" in the matter. Planning chair Mary Campbell differed with Richardson's opinion. "Our charge is land use and one aspect of that is not to cre- am higher density, which is increasing at an appalling rate. That's why we are aggrieved - our inability to control density. Growth is controlling the city, not the city controlling growth." Shulman cited a recent example in which ihe building inspector took a different view from the planners of whether the Boardwalk should be considered a public street. The planners denied a partitioning and their decision was overturned by the beard of commissioners, "so the building inspector has a real effect on our decision making." Noting that their appeal must be filed no later than Aug. 12, which would be within 30 days of the issuance of the permit, Shulman said that they can revisit the issue at their regular Aug. 11 meeting. Both Richardson, who maintained his concern over the planners exceeding their authority, and planner Burt Dukes voted against the measure, with Shulman, Konesey, Campbell, Preston Littleton and Patrick Gossett voting in favor. During the Aug. 4 commissioners work- shop, Commissioner Richard Sargent broached the matter, asking if the planners have standing to appeal the building inspec- tor's decision. "It seems the planners aren't affected, but the board has the ability to appeal. If the planners want to appeal I believe they should have every right to do so and if they don't we should appeal in the name of the planners if they feel strongly enough about this," he said. Speakman told him he has strong doubts that the planners have legal standing. "A better way is to redraft the ordinance," he , tgxlt tothe planners have."no staad .... suggested. "But I can't stop them - they've k ptkm photo Joseph's Cottages have been re- moved from this site along Rehoboth Avenue but a building permit issued for 11 townhouses and a single family dwelling has become a source of con- troversy. The Rehoboth Beach Plan- ning Commission has voted to appeal the permit to the Board of Adjust- ment, a precedent-setting move, be- cause they believe that the private street leading to the townhouses should not be included in the square footage when determining the allow. able density. ignored my advice in the past. But no one has heard of anyone from the planners going to the Board of Adjustment," he said, adding he advised Ferrese to just put a stay on the single family dwelling on the Joseph's Cottages site and let them contin- ue with the 11 townhouses "because we don't want to stop the whole thing." Commissioner Patti Shreeve suggested the planners offer them an amendment to the zoning ordinance that would clarify the matter. Planner Preston Littleton replied "we are frustrated and believe that the appeal is our only course of action - we feel it is so important." "I think the planners should move for- ward and I also think we should address clarifying the ordinance on how we handle it down the road," Sargent said.