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Lewes, Delaware
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October 31, 1997     Cape Gazette
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October 31, 1997
 

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Housing Continued from page 1 complained last year about a fire- damaged home that was not being repaired. But no one came to sup- port the ordinance on Tuesday and at least one Warwick Park home- owners representative said her community opposed the ordinance as intrusive. That was the general tone of speakers, that the ordinance went too far, intruded too much and stepped heavily on both private property rights and the constitu- tion. In what may be a public first, members of County Council actu- ally apologized to the public. Council members said at the start of Tuesday's hearing at Del Tech that they did not support the code, but that they had set a public hearing and would hear the views of people who wished to speak. County Council President Dale Dukes, who said he, had received over 300 phone calls in the prior week, said in a written statement that "this in no way is the start of the counWto try to bring enforce- ment with county mounties, as some poeple would like you to think." Dukes added that "I have heard the people of Sussex Coun- ty speak on this issue, and I am very grateful that they are listen- ing. As I stated earlier, this ordi- nance was not to bring out the county mounties to do a liberal in- tepretation of this ordinance. Nev- er did we intend for county em- ployees to arrive unannounced at someone's house and force their way in... I ask that you accept my apology when I tell you that I am truly sorry for the misunder- standing that might have come from the county government." Groups ranging from the ultra- conservative to the National Asso- ciation 'for the Advancement of Colored People spoke against the ordinance. Some called for mem- bers of CountY Counci I to be thrown out of office or for County Administrator Bob Stickels to be fired. County Councilman George Collins, who suggested the ordi- nance be considered after a consti- tutent reminded him that it had been discussed last year and not voted upon, also apologized. "I do not like this bill. There are some parts of this that should not be here. I am very sorry. I cannot do any more than apologize," Collins said. "We realize we made a mistake and every county coun- cilman apologized," Dukes said later. "My first reaction was that it was a Halloween prank," said Ew- ing. "This is a terrible accident waiting for a place to happen." "Let's go over the mountain and throw them out of office now," urged Martin Priest, who angrily said he wanted to speak when County Council asked if they should vote before everyone spoke. Audience members urged them to vote and end the ordeal, espe- cially since they did not support the ordinance. But others asked to be heard on the issue even if the outcome was already clear. Ann Marie Huber lived in Ger- many during the time ofAdolf Hitler and compared this ordi- nance to ordinances in Nazi Ger- many. "People wake up," she urged. "Stand up for yourselves. Now is the time to do it." Meals on Wheels of Rehoboth Beach and Lewes said that the or- dinance could affect 75 percent or more of their clients. Several speakers said the ordinance could have a greater impact on the elder- ly, poor, people with disabilities or minorities. Ruby Anderson said that if this ordinance is passed, "Caesar Rodney may as well have stayed in bed that night and gotten his rest instead of riding to Phildadelphia." "If you vote wrong and oppress the people... God will get back at you," said Woodrow Evans. {'o# . iPrlnted T- Shirts & Sporlswear Geoff Vernon is now in independent operation as Logo Artwork Design QuiCk Service " Quality Work Reasonable Prices 645-2959 CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, October 31 - November 6, 1997 - 15 Specifics )f the Sussex County housing cod e What does the proposed owner- occupied housing code considered by Sussex County this week actu- ally say? There was massive concern over the document, which prompt- ed what may be the biggest out- pouring of public,opposition seen in Sussex County in years. But most of those in attendance at Tuesday's overflowing meeting had not actually received a copy of the document. The biggest public fear was that the housing code (Sussex County Council already enforces a code for rented housing) would trample the constitution and allow govern- ment officials to inspect a home without warning and without per- mission. Residents said they were afraid the government would go too far, checking the temperatures of their refrigerators and displac- ing the poor and people with dis- abilities, those least able to afford good housing. The housing code was voted down unanimously by Sussex County Council and it would probably be political suicide to even consider such an idea again. Sussex County Administrator Bob Stickels said that the existing state code, New Castle County and Kent County code are all more re- strictive than what Sussex consid- ered. But here are some excerpts from the document. "The provisions of this entire chapter shall be liberally interpret- ed so as to minimize displacement of persons whose dwelling units may deviate from this chapter's specifications but do not pose an imminent threat to the health, safety and general welfare of the occupants and other persons. Ad- ditionally, this chapter is to be lib- erally interpreted so as to mini- mize hardships to persons that in- habit or own dwelling units which deviate from this chapter's speci- fications but do not pose an imi- nent threat to the health, safety and general welfare of the occu- pants and other persons. "All premises shall remain free of insects, rats, vermin or oth- er pests in all interior and exterior areas of the premises, and the Continued on page 17 Est. 1958 HA00,Z00 Electrical Contractor L.P.I. Cert. 959 645-8457 645-9060 1-800-610-8457 CERTIFIED LIGHTNING PROTECTION .' P.O. Box252, Lewes, DE19958 , HOW TC' GET A COPY OF BESCHE'S HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS O| 5 et this November guide that contains practical furniture care tips and con- sumer information.  And Alzo et a gift... Just by visiting the show- room any day this month. et in the spirit. In every department you'll discover special prices and ideas to help cheer up your home for this sea- son of holiday company. Gravel Hill