Resident wants smart growth in Fenwick
I take exception to the mayor of Fenwick Island’s remark in the March 4 article, that “a myth exists that the council majority is pro-development.” Actions speak for themselves. The following are recent zoning changes that have been passed by the current majority that have benefitted only the commercial district:
• Allowed multiple apartments in a commercial building.
• Doubled the amount of allowable commercial signage.
• Increased allowable flags and banners for business owners.
• Reduced front setbacks by 10 feet, with no offset of rear setback, significantly increasing buildable area (does not apply to residential use of same property).
• A 40 percent increase in allowable hotel density for the three existing hotels. (The first reading of this ordinance was originally passed May 2 to apply to the entire commercial district, which could have led to a hotel population greater than that of the residents.)
In contrast, many requests by homeowners have been ignored. Some items brought up at council meetings but never put on the agenda include:
• Relaxation of the bedroom and bathroom limitations now that we have maximum floor area ratio and maximum rental occupancy rules in place.
• Equalization of the residential rental tax (7.5 percent) and the commercial hotels tax (3 percent)
• Removal of the contract management fee that residential owners pay the Town for waste removal, which almost doubles the actual cost of waste removal to the homeowners. This is, in effect, a tax subsidy to the commercial properties, since they do not pay the Town for waste collection.
The non-binding survey that is being used as justification for this building height increase was incredibly flawed and was limited to one per property, and thereby excluded many voices. The referendum that was requested at the May 2015 meeting, with hundreds in attendance, was rejected.
Mayor, to state that it is a myth that the current majority of this council is pro-development belies the facts. The fact is this council took the unprecedented action of submitting a first reading of a zoning change, without any committee or all of the council members having even seen it. What other reason could there be? My belief is that the intent is to ram it through in 30 days in the middle of winter, when people are out of town, for the benefit of pending commercial development.
I am not anti-development. I am for responsible development. It is my belief that the majority of Fenwick Islanders would just like our concerns to be addressed and that our ideas be considered when making major changes to our town.
St. Ann’s, USO collecting for troops
St. Ann’s Catholic Church, in conjunction with USO Delaware, is again collecting “Items for the Troops” through March 31.
Please bring donated items to Delaney Hall, 651 Garfield Parkway, Bethany Beach, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Suggested items include individually-packaged snacks, water, gallon-sized Ziplock freezer bags, toiletries and Keurig cups for coffee or hot chocolate.
Thank you from our troops!