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Lewes, Delaware
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December 1, 2006     Cape Gazette
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December 1, 2006
 

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Will pollution control harm land development? The Cape Gazette would like to hear from farmers or landowners who are con- cerned that proposed pollution control strategies will unfairly diminish the value of their land. Those who believe strategies now in place or proposed in the new regulations would harm their ability to use their land, or those who believe 100-foOt buffers would harm their ability to use their land may contact lachel Swick at rswick@capegazett.e.com or call 645-7700, Ext. 338. State election commissioner announces retirement Frank Calio, Delaware's state election commissioner, announced on Wednesday, Nov. 29, that he will retire June 30. He exphined his intentions in a July letter to Gov. Ruth Ann Minner, giving the state more than a year to f'md a replacement. He will retire just three months before his term ends in September 2007, to allow the new commissioner time to prepare for the 2008 elections. Calio said he expects to see the largest voter turnout in the history of Delaware that year-because of the important national races, including presidential, governor, and U.S. Senate, as well as the mayor of W'dmington. He said he wanted to stay through the 2007 budget process to make sure everything was in order for the elec- tion:  $e_e taking office in 2002, Calio com- pldte  0fie handicapped accessi- bifityi'tf:pblling places, installed audio mOd"mMs into all voting machines for the visually impaired, moved absentee count- ing from all polling places to one location . in each county and received the'first feder-. al grand for Delaware elections. PLUS reviews Showfield plans, question traffic issues The state's Preliminary Land Use Service (PLUS) listened to plans that would add 600 homes and a trail system to Lewes Wednesday, Nov. 29, in Dover. PLUS reviewers went over the plans for the Showfieldproject, a proposed develoJ?ment for the 230-acre farm formerly owned by the late Lewes Mayor Otis Smith. The proposal would preserve old barns on the property and create a multiuse trail in Lewes, said design engineer Doug Warner with the Element Design Group. State planners recommended the develop- ment be annexed into the town of Lewes. This project is the largest ever to be consid- ered in Lewes. Ninety-one acres of the project already lie within town limits, with 139 acres that would have to be annexed. Questions raised by state planners included traffic concerns because plans for a new high school would also bring more traffic into what used to be a rural commu- nity. Bryan Hall, state planner for Sussex County, said the state agencies would release comments within two weeks. -County council to hear Hayfidd development appeal Dec. 5 The developers of Hayfield, a 351-unit cluster development, are returning to Sussex County Council to appeal the coun- cil's denial. The development would have brought new homes to a 176-acre parcel north of Hummingbird Road and south of Smith Road outside of Milton. The appli- cation was denied, causing the developers to appeal the decision. The council is expected to make a deci- CAPE GAZETTE - Friday, December 1 - Monday, December 4, 2006 - 3 sion on the appeal at 10 a.m., Tuesday, Dec. 5, in council chambers in Georgetown. The public is welcome to attend. Dewey Beach commissioners funded campaign legally Two Dewey Beach commissioners who were elected in the September 2006 elec- tion did not break the law on campaign finance, they say. The Delaware Department of Elections requires all candidates to report what they spend during elections, but any elected offi- cial who is unpaid is exempt. Although unpaid commissioners are expected to report spending more than $2,000, neither candidate did, they said. "It was a very cheap election for me," said Commissioner Claire Walsh, who said she didn't pay for anything. She said she took out no ads, she sent out two mailings that someone else paid for, and she partici- pated in free media events, such as candi- date forums and radio programs. Commissioner Dale Cooke said he per- sonallypaid about $1,800 to send out three mailings. - The business community banded togeth- er for the first time in Dewey to promote .Walsh and Cooke. Those businesses paid for election signs, several mailings and other advertisements, the candidates said. The state does not require independent businesses or individuals to report how much they spend in a campaign because to protect the freedom of speech. "As long as the primary avocation of the business is not politics," said Paul Baldwin, accountant for the Delaware campaign finance. He would not say if the state is conducting an investi- gation on the candidates. Rehoboth commissioners to discuss farmer's market Rehoboth Beach Commissioners will hold a workshop at 4:30 p.m., Monday, Dec. 4. Themeetirig was scheduled earlier than usual .because of the city's Christmas parade. Commissioners will address a pro- posal to operate a weekly farmer's market in The Grove park. Commissioner Ron Paterson will also lead a continuing discussion on election reform and the city's adherence to state- mandated Title 15. The city's manager and solicitor will also give monthly reports. Lewes historic preservation panel to hear three requests The Lewes Historic Preservation Commission will meet at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 5, in City Hall. Agenda items include requests by John and Diana Beebe, owners of property located at 12 Shipearpenter Square, for expansion of an existing room by 7.5 feet and the addition of a second- floor bedroom over the existing screen porch; Stanley and Stephanie Green, own- ers of property located at 25 Shipcarpenter Square, for the addition of a 5-foot to-6- foot-high fence across the driveway, including one 11-foot-6-inch-high automo- bile gate and one 3-foot personal gate, both inward swinging; John McCorkle, owner of property located at 125 Jefferson Ave., for the replacement of the roof on the existing dwelling, using with a 30-year asphalt shin- gle. The commission will alsodiscuss sub- Committee recommendations onproposed 0rdinance and bylaw revisions and determi- nation of a course of action and tentative schedule for obtaining approval when appropriate. Lewes to consider dredging bids at special meeting . Lewes Mayor and Council vill hold a special meeting at 7 p.m., MOnday, Dt&zI:,  i:i .in City Hall to consider awarding a bid for : : maintenance dredging at the Lewes Canalfront Park site. COntinued on page 4 Sunken-boats in canal may be there for along00time i By Ron MacArthur Cape Gazette staff The two sunken boats in the Rehoboth-Lewes Canal just off the: fidge leading into Rehoboth Beach may be there for a long time. One of the owners, who claims he didn't realize he Was still owner, says he will try to remove the houseboat on the north side of the bridge. Because of the cost Of removal, state Officials say .the owners are in no hurry to have them removed. The state apparently has.no way to leverage power to force them to remove the eyesores. And there are no state funds for the removal of abandoned boats. The two boats, now halfway submerged, have been abandoned in the canal since last summer, said Chief James Graybeal, who is in charge of enforcement for the Departmerit of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) Division of Fish and Wildlife. He wanfs the. boats removed, but his hands are tied. "We want them out and the homeowners in the area want them out," he said. "But, it's the responsibility of the owners to remove them. We are not obligated to pull the boats from Fish and Wildlife that it was sunk in the canal," he said. "I thought Dirk has taken the boat over, but I guess it's still in my name," he added. .... Baker said he tried once to remove the boat, a houseboat on the north side of the bridge, but failed. "I want to make this right," he " said. He said he. was waiting .for another low tide to try again. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has jurisdiction in the canal, but the Corps is not a polic- ing .agency, said Graybeal. "Sure, on nrmut tos they want the boats out, but is the . Two boats in the Rehoboth-Lewes Canal, on both sides of Corpsgoing,to pay to have them the bridge leading into Rehoboth Beach, have been aban- pulled out? I don't think that is donedsineethesumme out." Graybeal said the boats are not legally docked either. "I don't think either owner has permission to dock the bo_ats where they are," Graybeal. Thetwo boats are owned sepa- rate|y[According to Graybeal, the owners, Dirk Moore and Maurice Baker,: have been contacted on Graybeal said. - , r : ".. 'numerous :occasions. Baker lives He Said Dc fias no funds in Dagsboro and Graybeal said he available to remove sunken boats unless they pose a pollution or navigation threat, which neither of the boats in the canal does. He said the engines have been removed. And the owners are technically not breaking any law, said thinks Moore "moves around" and at one time was living on the houseboat in the canal. Baker claims Moore is respon- sible for docking his boat and abandoning it in the canal. "The last I knew of the boat it was in Dagsboro and then I got a call going to happen." "Now, because they are sub- merged, .it-will probably take something like a crane to get them out," he said. "And that's g0irig to be a substantial expenditei' " Tho eo-st"could exc-$6,000 for each:BOa: sdGraiai. M00!hds) a hiSt.p::a, aban- doning boats n the:Ca,.6gion, according to Graybea!." . :I:':" Heowns a 70-foot boat, which has run aground on a sandbar near Pepper Creek in the Inland Bays, and has been abandoned for more than two years. Graybeal said Moore tried unsuccessfully in July to tow the large boat off the sandbar. The boat he was using as the tow then sunk ina storm at the state-owned ramp and clock at Massey's Landing. "This boat did present a pollu- tion issue," Graybeal said. Moore was charged more than $6,000 paid by DNREC to have the sunken boat removed and towed and placed on blocks. For now, the only course of action is to keep pressure on the boat owners, Graybeal said. "We really don't have any other avenue ! unless someone provides some f " , undmg, he said. Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, R- Rehoboth Beach,_said if the boats :{ were five feet farther out in the i canal theY would be a navigation ' hazard and would have to be " .'., = removed. "'If-they absolutely had to b: i removed and DNREC was given:-: approval, they have the equipment : to move them," he said: "I sup- :. pose the secretary could ask for ) money in the budget. I really don't i know what else could be done." "It's just a bad situation," Graybeal added. Contact Ron MacArthur at ronm@ capegazette.com.