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November 17, 2006     Cape Gazette
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November 17, 2006

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I I I CAPE GAZETTE. Friday, November 17 - Monday, November 20, 2006 - 17 Piping promising solution to Overbrook Shores tax ditch By Ron MacArthur Cape Gazette staff Although residents can't get a definitive answer from DNREC officials, selective piping in the Carsyljan Acres tax ditch may be the answer to right-of-way prob- lems plaguing the neighborhood. The residents like the idea; so does Rep. George Carey, their representative in Dover. Carey and the residents claim piping is the only alternative presented so far that makes sense. But so far, a way to pay for the piping has not been identified. Frank Piorko, the program administrator for the DNREC drainage section, which manages the state's tax ditches, said selec- tive piping is a possible option. "It's something that can be looked at. It's not out of the realm of pos- sibility," he said. Since an Oct. 4 meeting, some residents in the Overbrook Shores neighborhood who live along the tax ditch have been living in a state of limbo. At the meeting, DNREC offi- cials laid down the law that obstructions, including sections of houses, in the 25-foot tax ditch fight of way had to be removed. The tax ditch, put into place in 1984 before any houses were con- structed in that section of the development, is long overdue for maintenance. The addition of another devel- opment, Vincent Overlook, in the tax ditch district precipitated the drive to get the ditch cleaned out. Over the past decade, property owners along the tax ditch have been allowed to build fight up to the ditch, although by law there is supposed to be a 25-foot fight of way in place on the Overbrook Shores side of the ditch. Rep. Carey, R-Milford, who is a farmer with a tax ditch on his I property, said he has met with several Overbrook Shores resi- dents over the past year. "It's not the resi- dent's fault," he said. "It CARlgY seems no one is taking the blame. There is no way this should have happened." Carey agrees with residents who support the idea of placing pipes in the ditch along the prob- lem areas where there are obstruc- tions, and saving any moving or tearing down of structures. He has knowledge of the prac- tice because culverts with pipe are placed in his tax ditch where the ditch crosses roadways. "Some say this can't be done, but I don't see why it can't," he said. "Of course, it would have to be designed by the Soil and Water Conservation people." But, Carey said, there is a prob- lem. "Who is going to pay for this? I don't see any money for this unless the residents foot some of the bill. 'Tm not saying this is what is going to happen, but it seems better than moving a house or paying attorneys," he said. Carey was instrumental in the formation of a tax ditch task force and the passage of legislation that changed a long-standing policy of filing tax ditch title information in the prothonotary's office. The law was changed to file the informa- tion in the recorder of deed's office. Eckert Erv, a resident of Overbrook Shores who is not directly affected by the tax ditch right-of-way problem, is working on behalf of those who are impacted. He met with DNREC officials on Nov. 9. The meeting commissioners hire a new attor- ney. Interviews are scheduled later this month. "I am trying to help the town out," Witsil said. He said he accepted the case, but he will hand it over to the new attorney when one is hired. "I have no comments. My client hasn't been served yet," Witsil said. Although many media outlets were informed about the suit, Dewey Beach has yet to be served the paperwork, Witsil said. "It's not my practice to play to the press on serious litigation," he said. Lawsuit Continued from page 15 Campbell is suing for lost wages and benefits and additional damages for humiliation, and he seeks that his rank be restored. He is seeking a jury trial. Mayor Dell Tush had no com- ment and said she had not seen the suit. The suit comes at a time when Dewey Beach has no town solici- tor. Although Rob Witsil resigned from his position as town attorney in October, Tush has asked him to begin work on the suit until the took place near the end point of the 4,000-foot tax ditch at Red Mill Pond near a section where the water is piped into the pond. Erv said piping the water is an option the affected residents want DNREC officials to explore. During the Oct. 4 meeting, resi- dents were told the cost to place a pipe the length of the tax ditch would be prohibitive and getting the proper elevation to run the pipe or pipes would be next to impossible. 'ffhey said they are going to leave the current section of pipe where it is," Erv said. "We are asking why they can't place more pipe like this in the areas where there are problems and areas so they don't have to destroy trees. They said they are not writing that idea off." Erv said residents are still wait- ing for a decision on removing obstacles in the right of way. "We can't understand why DNREC does not face up to how ridiculous this situation is and remedy it," he said. "It's hard to get anyone to commit to anything right now. We've been told it may take up to two years. "We are told is that it's the responsibility of the tax ditch committee." John Morrissey, who is trying to sell his Overbrook Shores house, discovered the discrepancy with the tax ditch when his house was being constructed four years ago. "And we have been fighting with this ever since we moved in," he said. The Morrissey home is within seven feet of the ditch. "I called DNREC after we closed on the house and asked them if they owned the right of way, why my documentation didn't show it," he said. He didn't get an answer, and hasn't been able to get one. "They allowed this to happen, so why should I be a victim? "I just want someone to tell me something. So far, I've been treat- ed like dirt. I can't get anyone to tell me anything except there is a ditch and an easement. I wish they would tell me I have to move the house, then at least I could get the ball rolling." Morrissey said the proposed pipe solution could run into a hitch with the additional water being pumped into the ditch from several retention ponds in the Vincent Overlook development. "I think doing this is still up in the air, but it's worth taking a look at," he said. Piorko said DNREC's role in the matter is to provide technical assistance to the Carsyljan Acres tax ditch committee and make rec- ommendations to the group. "It is not up to us how this gets done, it is left up to the tax ditch organiza- tion," he said. He said a decision on a path forward for the Overbrook Shores residents could take place at the annual tax ditch meeting, which has yet to be scheduled. "We have been put in the middle, though, and we want to help solve the problem amica- bly. There is some legislative con- cern here as well," he said. Piorko said DNREC's recommendations would hinge on the results of a survey of the ditch, which is due to be completed in about a week. "The survey will do a lot for us. It will tell us how much material is in the ditch and how much needs to come out," he said. Yale Psychiatrist Paul A. Lange, M.D. 302-381-9334 Waiting time 1 to 4 days. Psychiatric Evaluations & Psychotherapy Georgetown Rehoboth Beach Silver Works Celebrates The Love of Your Dog With The Country's Best Selection Of Sterling Silver Man's Best Friends! Priced from ONLY $5 each! More loveable "pooches" in storesl 00w000s. 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