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December 15, 2017     Cape Gazette
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December 15, 2017

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Rehoboth planners begin comprehensive development plan process Chairman David Mellen: We’re in listening mode By Ryan Mavity The Rehoboth Beach planning commission is working on a new comprehensive development plan. “We’re starting the process,” Chairman David Mellen said. The process will take nearly three years from start to finish, as it will be crafted by the planners, approved by the city commis- sioners and then by the General Assembly. Once signed by the governor, the plan will have the force of law and serve as the blueprint for the city’s future development. The city is targeting a July 2020 date for the plan to go into effect. Mellen said at this point, plan- ners are looking for a consultant to help craft the plan. He said the consultant on the 2010 plan, Bruce Galloway, is not available. When the 2010 plan was craft- ed, the planning commission held a long series of public meet- ings - Mellen said the total was about 17 - where the commission solicited input from the public. The commission held six meetings on individual topics related to the plan, in addition to meetings with groups like the Rehoboth Beach Homeowner’s Association and discussion at regular commission meetings. Mellen said a similar process will likely play out this time. He said the commission’s first task once a consultant is found, is to go through the existing plan and 2015 update to see what has been accomplished and what hasn’t. The plan must address a checklist of items from the Office of State Planning Coordination. The plan must address zoning and annexation issues, even if the city does not have any rezonings or annexations planned. Mellen said a new item on the state checklist is addressing the impact of sea level rise. The city must also address future growth and affordable housing, which Mellen said is a bit of a problem for Rehoboth given the city’s high property values. But all of that is down the road, Mellen said, as the commission gathers information from the public. “We’re in listening mode. It’s very, very early. I can’t predict where we’re going,” he said. Beautify Someone’s Holiday 6 Christian Street Rehoboth Beach 302-227-5800 The Spa at the Bellmoor Holiday Savings 25% OFF GIFT CARDS* Black Friday until December 24th - Services Offered - · Facials · Nail Care · Massage · Body Care · Waxing *On gift cards $100 and above. Spend $500 and receive a free gift. Lasting Homegrown Quality Sprays, Cemetery Tributes & Saddles Cyclamen, Christmas Cactus Wreaths - Fresh, Artificial A large array to choose from. WE CUSTOM MAKE YOUR DESIGNS We Grow Poinsettias! Thousands to choose from. PEPPER’S GREENHOUSES Open Mon. - Sat. 8-5 • Sun. 8-4 13034 Cedar Creek Rd. • Milton, DE (302) 684-8092 12 FRIDAY, DECEMBER 15 - MONDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2017 NEWS Cape Gazette New Rehoboth Elementary School to open in fall 2019 District plans to follow same design as Love Creek, HOB By Ryan Mavity With the coming of a new year will also be the coming of con- struction crews to begin work on the new Rehoboth Elementary School. Work is scheduled to begin in January on the 92,000-square- foot building on the same 25-acre site as the current school. The school will open in fall 2019. Brian Bassett, director of capi- tal projects for Cape Henlopen School District, said construction bids will be opened Tuesday, Jan. 9, and site work and installa- tion of construction fencing will begin. Bassett said the construc- tion will take place from January through August 2019. The sec- ond phase of the project will be demolition of the old school buildings, from August to Octo- ber 2019. Bassett said the school district may have to come back to the city for a variance in order to work through the summer. District representatives have said throughout the site plan re- view process that the new school will follow the same design as Love Creek and the new H.O. Brittingham. Like at Love Creek, the new Rehoboth elementary will have a playground with a rubberized surface and open space that can be converted to an outdoor ampitheater, where outdoor movies and other events could take place.  Two athletic fields and basketball and pickle- ball courts are planned. Bassett said the new schools were built to use a lot of natural light, which research suggests improves students’ outlook on learning.  Classrooms are grouped into pods by grade level, sharing common area. Bassett said this pod structure allows classes to work together and for students to work outside the classroom. He said the pods help with se- curity as well, since each pod can be locked down in case of an emergency. Each of the new elementary schools has unique features, and Bassett said the new Rehoboth elementary will be no exception. He said the district plans to use some of the bricks from the old school as part of the entrance sign and walkway around the new building. Bassett said the district will also save the sign on the older of the two school buildings that reads “Rehoboth Public School” and use is as part of an archway leading to the new school. He said the district also plans to use benches that look similar to Rehoboth’s Boardwalk benches. Bassett said during construc- tion the public will continue to have access to the Silver Lake foot bridge, commonly referred to as Turtle Bridge; the lake will not be disturbed during con- struction, he said. There will be a separate con- struction vehicle entrance off State Road, and the area where the new school will be built will be cordoned off, Bassett said. He said construction will not occur on weekends, and the district will try to reduce noise as much as possible. Updates on the prog- ress of the new school will be provided at the school board’s monthly meetings and on the district’s website. Rehoboth elementary dates to 1939, when the main building, which contains the auditorium, was built. An addition was built in 1952 and the building was renovated in 1986. The smaller building, which now contains the main office, was built in 1959, with an addition in 2007. Bassett said the school district has maximized the space in the two buildings, with as many spaces as possible converted to classrooms to accommodate the growing student body. The new school will be able to handle a maximum of 720 students, although district officials have said about 630 students will end up attending.