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September 13, 1996     Cape Gazette
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September 13, 1996
 

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14 - CAPE G ZETrE, Friday, September 13 - September 19,1996 Rehoboth Planners keep chipping away at Long Range Plan By Trish Vernon From lot coverage restrictions and better emergency planning to sprucing up the commercial district and allowing people to work out of their homes, the Rehoboth Beach Planning Commission is endeavor- ing to cover a lot of ground as it continues efforts to encode the recently adopted Long Range Plan. Each member of the Planning Commis- sion has taken on the task of identifying pri- orities close to their heart and fashioning workable proposed ordinances and policies to be presented to the Board of Commis- sioners for its consideration. During their latest meeting on Sept. 9, the Planners focused in on measures presented by Planners Bob Scala and Alan Garey. However, at the outset, it was noted that they consider a restriction on lot coverage and partitioning of lots, two of Planner Pat- ti Shreeve's primary concerns, to be of ut- most importance. In her letter to the editor (see page six) Shreeve reiterates the Planning Commis- sion's quest to pre- serve neighborhood character by requiring a certain amount of green space on every residential lot and, es- pecially on the north side of town, splitting large lots into minimal SHREEVE 50 by 100 foot parcels. In the latter instance, the owners often move the structure to one lot and either sell off or build another often larger house on the newly formed lot, which results in higher density. With the Planners vowing Sept. 9 to have a draft ordinance regarding lot coverage ready for consideration by the commission- ers within the month, Shreeve is calling for formation of a Neighborhood Preservation Architectural Review Board, as called for in the Long Range Plan (LRP). such a board would oversee major renovation and new construction in residential areas, re- quiring foremost that any building would compliment rather than conflict with the ex- isting streetscape. The proposed Historic Preservation Ordi- nance (HPO) which was shifted back to the Board of Commissioners and shelved, ad- dresses these concerns. However, detrac- tors believe it would add an expensive and unwieldy layer of bureaucracy to city gov- ernment. Planning Commission Chairman Mary Campbell told fellow members Sept. 9 that Commissioner Jan Konesey has advised that rather than the city consider the HPO as drafted, the Planners work some of its tenets into its neighborhood preservation encoding of the Long Range Plan provi- sions. Scala reports on preparedness Scala, having emphasized in the past that the Planners would emphasize priority one items of the LRP action plan, but would al- so devote their energies to matters of partic- ular concern such as lot coverage, said Sept. 9 that he has shaped his reports into draft form for the commissioners. They include reports on upgrading of emergency pre- paredness, determining the city's exact geo- graphical boundaries and a focus on trans- portation and traffic concerns. He told fellow Planners that their recent monitoring of Hurricane Edouard "height- ened awareness that there is a lack of plan- ning, although this is considered a level three priority in the LRP. "However, this is highly topical and of personal interest," said Scala, who has been involved with city officials in monitoring these storms' threats to the Delaware coast. The city's present emergency plan "isn't equal to the task and doesn't recognize con- temporary technology," he explained, with no provisions for feed- ing and housing those evacuated, or satellite information reception. Planning on a coun- ty and state level leave something to be de- sired as well, Scala noted, pointing to the fact that officials want- ed to meet with city SCALA representatives in Bethany Beach on Saturday afternoon of Labor Day Weekend to discuss - a time when traffic on Route One was at its peak - as an example of poor planning. The Planners supported Scale's idea to form a task force comprised of himself, Planner Chris Quill and Assistant City Manager Martin Dusbiber to review the ex- isting plan, make needed revisions, includ- ing better coordination with other coastal towns, and prepare a budget to be presented before the city adopts its budget for the next fiscal year in March. They will ask Mayor Sam Cooper to support the idea and appoint the committee. Scala then turned his sights on city boundaries, noting "our territorial limits are actually not what are shown in the maps." He recalled that, having served on the an- nexation committee when the LP was being fashioned, that there was a consensus the maps are incorrect and that an attorney would be needed to decipher Rehoboth Beach boundaries. That work was never completed. Scala was given the go ahead from the Planners to present his recommendation at tonight's (Sept. 13) Commissioner's meet- ing, that the city ascertain its boundaries be- fore even thinking of future annexation of land. Transportation a vexing concern Scale's third area of concern, "one of the most vexing issues facing Rehoboth Beach," is traffic and transportation. He believes that the Parking Advisory Com- mittee formed earlier this year, in concert with Rehoboth Main Street, should work to initiate the following actions: Set up the mechanism for an end of sea- son review of the permit system (which the advisory committee has been mandated to do.) Set up a similar mechanism for review- ing the parking meter system. Serve as the focus for information gath- ering and evaluation by outside experts. Set objectives for 1997, realizing that all concerns can't be addressed in one all- encompassing action. Parallel to that, Scala suggested the may- or and commissioners form a separate working group with Main Street input to provide current capital cost and operating expense estimates for a parking garage as a long range option. The group, with police assistance, would also look at the LRP rec- Continued on page 15 Rehoboth ,.Vlain Street looks to boost membership, revenue By Trish Vernon Fattening the membership roster and bank account are the fledgling Rehoboth Beach Main Street's foremost goals and members of the board of directors zeroed in on ways in which to accomplish these tasks at their Sept. 11 monthly meeting With approximately 130 business people having joined the cause to revitalize and improve downtown Rehoboth Beach, Membership Committee Chairman Alan Garey said the first order of business will be to hold a "business after hours" party the evening of Sept. 23 at the Boardwalk Plaza for all Main Street members and prospec- tive members. "It will be an opportunity to interact and have the committees (design, economic restructuring, membership and promotion) explain their purpose and seek volunteers. The board also nailed down its policy on pro-rating membership dues, deciding that those who join at a time other than when annual dues are renewed by June 15 would pay only through the end of that year. Garey also presented the board with a preliminary proposal that could enable Main Street to raise as much as a quarter of a million dollars for its coffers. He an- nounced that he would not be conducting his Twin Capes Nature Tours any longer due to the cost of operating a corporation separate from his Wild Birds Unlimited and marketing costs, along with the insurance concerns. "However, those who took the walks seemed very satisfied, but were operated on the wrong order of scale and through a prof- it, versus a not-for-profit entity," Garey ex- plained. Under Main Street's umbrella, as part of each walk, participants would be asked to become a "Friend of Rehoboth Beach" with part of the incentive being a 5 percent dis- count at participating retailers and restau- rants. Lodging estab- lishments would pro- vide complimentary walking tour tickets for all of their guests or one in each party to entice them to partic- ipate and the mer- GAREY chants would offer the discounts. Tours would be offered daily out of the proposed information kiosk the city plans to incorporate into the new Delaware Av- enue restrooms (with hopes Main Street and the Chamber of Commerce will work in unison to man the booth). The tours would be of varied length and oriented around such subjects as nature, the beach, architec- ture, art and gardening and led by volun- teers with adequate training. The cost to the public would be $3 to $8, depending up- on the length and topic of the tour. Each person checking into a lodging fa- cility would receive one complimentary ticket purchased from Main Street for $1 each by the REALTOR, motel or rooming house. It is their decision to either pass the cost on to the customer or absorb it. There were a variety of concerns ex- pressed, including where they would find the necessary volunteers, with the board de- ciding to review the plan and put it on the October agenda. Too many promotions? Dave Ackerman, chairman of the promo- tion committee, reported on his meeting with Cuffy Sullivan, Delaware's new Main Street program associate, noting he was told that Rehoboth's organization may not be "directed enough. I was told perhaps we should be involved in only two events per year rather than pick up events which failed to make money for others, and concentrate on image promotion 12 months of the year. Main Street should facilitate and support other organizations' events and not admin- ister them." President Kathy Kramedas reminded Ackerman that technically, Main Street on- ly sponsors one event at present, the Flower Festival/Art in the Park. The Chocolate Festival is moved from organization to or- ganization each year, and next spring's March of Dimes WalkAmerica and Arthri- tis Foundation Mini-Grand Prix are funda- mentally organized by those respective charitable groups. Kramedas went on to note "We need as many off-season events as possible," with Ackerman noting that Sullivan stressed they look more toward what they want to accomplish and sponsor events which are more advantageous to Main Street itself. The newly appointed chairman of the Economic Restructuring Committee, John Kleitz, explored the variety of tasks with which he may be saddled, including recruit- ing a complimentary mix of businesses to the downtown area. Fellow board member Bill Richardson advised him "to be creative - color outside of the lines," as each com- mittee head is expected to present its work plans to Sullivan by Dec. 1. Fireworks committee at work Kramedas reported that her July Fourth fireworks committee is going great guns and she hopes to be on the October Re- hoboth Board of Commissioners agenda with a plan to return fireworks to the resort on Fourth of July after a more than a decade hiatus. After Garey presented his various Planning Commission proposals involving the downtown area designed in an effort to implement the Long Range Plan for Main Street input, he introduced the suggestion of a "parking pledge." In a memo to fellow Main Street mem- bers, Garey advised that the pledge could be circulated to all downtown business owners, with the idea that the owner and the business's employees would sign a vow promising not to park in front of businesses at any time of the year. "I realize that summer is almost over, but that means that the holidays are rapidly ap- proaching and if shoppers knew they could park in front of or nearby the business they wanted to patronize, they may be-more willing to bring their businesses to the Main Street District," he explained. Garey's concept was met with mixed emotions, as in the off season vehicles parked nearby indicate that a merchant may be open, thus luring more business. This and other proposals will be revisited at the next board meeting, slated for 5:15 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 2.