Letters to the Editor — August 23, 2013


Peterson gets the nod from reader

Editor:

On Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013, the voters of Bethany Beach will have a unique opportunity to elect an exceptionally qualified “new” council member — Chuck Peterson. I strongly endorse him.

While Chuck will be a new face at the table, he brings to the council eight years of experience in town governances. Chuck chaired the Charter & Ordinance Review Committee, and served on the Planning Commission, Budget & Finance Committee and Audit Committee. Further bolstering his practical, hands-on experience, Chuck attended many University of Delaware Institute of Public Affairs training events. In addition, Chuck’s executive service at the federal level provides an excellent complement to his local governmental experience.

I personally know Chuck and have witnessed his energy, intelligence and integrity. Chuck knows how to get things done. His Town experience has allowed him to work not only directly with the council but also with the Town’s administrative staff and the various departments. As a new council member, he will hit the floor running, minimizing the transition and learning-curve period and allowing him to be effective immediately.

Please vote for Chuck, as well as re-electing our two incumbents, Jerry Dorfman and Joe Healy. This will allow Bethany Beach to continue to be fiscally sound and remain the wonderful Quiet Resort we all desire.

Ray Aumiller
Bethany Beach

Brigleb withdraws from Bethany election

Editor:

I have made the very difficult decision to withdraw my name as a candidate for the upcoming Bethany Beach town council election and notified the town manager to remove my name from the ballot.

It is important that the public understand my reasons for making this decision. A few weeks ago, I broke my foot and sprained my ankle severely. My doctor put me in a knee-high orthopedic boot, and recommended I stay off the foot as much as possible and return to weight-bearing activities very gradually.

In my haste to use my foot again, I suffered a painful back injury, and my doctor prescribed two very strong medications that address the back injury but make it difficult for me to function.

My decision to withdraw is based on my needing to make the healing process a priority and the reality that I simply could not mount an effective campaign while dealing with my injury. This was a decision I did not make easily, as I believe I am a viable candidate and certainly a voice that provided an actual choice in the election.

Perhaps I should have stayed in the race and scaled back my campaign so as to garner name recognition for a future election, and that idea haunts me, but I am not used to embarking on a project and giving less than 100 percent, so withdrawing was the right thing to do for my health.

My family has vacationed in Bethany Beach since 1951 and owned property in the town for 45 years. My husband and I built a house in Bethany in 1987, and our boys and I have summered here ever since, with my husband joining us on weekends. I have a long association with and deep attachment to Bethany Beach, and I am confident that I can represent the interests of the people of this town who feel as I do that the unique character of Bethany must be preserved. Going forward, I will continue to be involved in serving the town I have known and loved for 60 years.

Carol Seal Brigleb
Bethany Beach

Burbage thankful for referendum turnout

Editor:

From the bottom of my heart, I want to sincerely thank everyone who participated in one of the most important non-binding referendums in the history of Bethany Beach. All those involved appreciate the fact that residents and landowners took this matter seriously and dedicated the time and effort to make a choice and then mail back the ballot.

All of us owe a debt of gratitude to the Bethany Beach Town Council for making the decision and developing a survey to inform residents and landowners about the proposed change in zoning to the CL-1 classification.

The Town Council recognized the gravity of this decision for the future of Bethany Beach and wanted all residents and landowners to participate in this important decision. Once again, the members of the Bethany Town Council have proved that they have the best interest of residents and landowners at heart.

The Bethany Beach Landowners Association (BBLA) showed that they represented all those who are property owners by not taking a stand in favor or against. The BBLA should be congratulated for presenting both sides of the issue in their mailing to their members.

We want to assure all those who voted against the project that, if we were granted the privilege to build our proposed oceanfront hotel, it would represent the best that the Quiet Resorts have to offer.

As we have said in the past, whether we win or lose in this first step of a long process, we wish to extend the hand of friendship to all residents and landowners. In the event we are finally granted the right to build this new state-of-art traditional hotel, everyone, including those who decided to vote against us in the non-binding referendum, are invited to share and participate in the activities of the new facility. We want this new hotel to be a facility that everyone can be proud of. If we can build it, we want you to consider this to be your hotel.

For those of you who supported us with your affirmative vote, our sincerest thank-you for your confidence in us to take the next step to build a new hotel. We appreciate the fact that you received a lot of information and that you chose to make a positive difference for the future of Bethany Beach. If our project is approved, we will not let you down.

It is my sincere hope that this will allow all of us to take a deep breath and gain some perspective. Although we all realize that there will be more hurdles to clear, this may be the opportune time to bury the hatchet, so we may all go back to being decent, caring members of the Quiet Resort that we all know and love.

Jack Burbage
Bethany Beach

Callanen questions some of inlet work

Editor:

A dredging project is currently under way at Indian River Inlet to pump approximately 520,000 cubic yards of sand from the inlet to the ocean shore just north of the inlet for the purpose of returning the shoreline to its pre-Hurricane Sandy conditions and thus protecting the approach to the new $150 million Indian River Inlet Bridge.

Through the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013, federal monies reportedly will be financing this $6.6 million dredging project.

Although placing sand back on this eroded beach is a good short-term remediation measure, it does nothing to reduce the impact of high-energy storm waves, which are guided to the beach along the north side of the north inlet jetty and thus exacerbate continuing erosion of this section of critically important beach.

Measures are needed that significantly dissipate this wave energy, such as the construction of one or more large stone breakwaters extending northward from the north side of the north jetty and parallel to the shoreline.

It appears this straightforward long-term beach erosion reduction measure has not been publicly considered by the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) or the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) because it would eliminate a favorite local spot for surfers who like to ride large waves alongside the north jetty.

To ensure that the replenished beach north of the inlet is ideal for surfing, Tony Pratt, administrator of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control’s Shoreline & Waterway Management Section was recently quoted in the Coastal Point as saying, “We very carefully selected material that is finer-grain sand. That’s why we went inside the inlet — to obtain native beach sand that should make a flatter bottom and is very conducive to surfing. I’ve surfed this inlet myself for decades, so I understood the concern.”

A July 16, 1998, News Journal article quotes Pratt as saying “coarser sand is heavier and holds up better” to the pounding of major coastal storms. This statement is corroborated by a 1986 U.S. Geological Survey report, which states “materials dredged from sounds and bays are generally too fine to be effective in beach nourishment.”

By reducing the size of waves breaking on the beach and hence the amount of beach erosion, the breakwaters would have the added potential benefit of reducing the 100,000 cubic yards of sand, which is pumped annually, at federal expense of approximately $250,000, from the beach on the south side of the inlet to the beach on the north side.

Pratt has said that dredging of the inlet will not only help protect the beach from future storm damage but will also improve the navigability of the channel. “This project, by utilizing the sand pushed inland from Sandy, we will re-dig the channel and make it operational again,” he said. “We’re utilizing material effectively to increase and improve the navigability of the waterway.”

Although the inlet provides a nearby convenient source of sand, it is submitted that the type of vessels which routinely use the inlet are not in need of deeper water.

Furthermore, self-scouring has dramatically increased the depth of the inlet from 15 feet to over 100 feet in some places. The volume of water flowing through the inlet on each tide cycle roughly tripled from 1939 to 1969, and almost doubled from 1969 to 1988. As the inlet’s cross-sectional area has increased, it has become far less effective as a deterrent to costly flooding around the bay shorelines during storms.

Rather than removing sediment from Indian River Inlet, shouldn’t DNREC and the ACOE be depositing large stones, which will not erode away, at the bottom of the inlet to decrease its depth and thus effectively reduce its cross-sectional area and the volume of water coursing through it?

Why isn’t this action being considered and publicly discussed? Hundreds of tax-paying property owners on the shorelines of the Inland Bays are becoming increasingly concerned about flooding and erosion of their property during typical nor’easter storms.

What will be the long-term costs to the taxpayer for retaining the existing recreational surfing site at Indian River Inlet? Why not encourage surfers to use the jetty site (groin) constructed by DNREC at Herring Point in Cape Henlopen State Park?

Steve Callanen
Ocean View

Dorfman gets endorsement

Editor:

We have owned a house in Bethany for over 25 years and been here year-round for the past five years. During that time, we have been impressed with Jerry Dorfman’s performance as a member of the town council.

He is always very accessible to discuss and, when possible, act on our concerns regarding issues affecting the town. He has dedicated many hours to attending workshops, committee meetings and hearings on these issues. He has also served effectively on the board of Bethany West.

Jerry’s experience on the council and as treasurer of the town, plus his knowledge of the town’s workings — especially financial matters — would be a great asset if he continues on the council. We hope you will support Jerry.

Martín & Elynore Decre
Bethany West

Doyle names his picks for council seats

Editor:

For the past 20 years my wife and I have had the pleasure of living in Bethany Beach, a town that has been blessed with the finest town administration that can be found along the Delaware coastline.

As property owners, we have not only enjoyed the special family atmosphere that Bethany is noted for but have also benefitted from the lowest real estate tax rates, the lowest water rates and the lowest trash collection fees in this area.

In addition, we have the pleasure of being in one of our coastline’s most beautiful environments, thanks to the lovely floral displays throughout the town. We are also delighted to see the ongoing improvements that are taking place in the town: the expansion of Garfield Parkway, a new water tower that will improve the quality of our water system and a town park that will beautify the area at Routes 1 and 26.

We all know, however, that these improvements don’t just happen; they result from the continuing efforts and skills of our elected representatives who do a superb job for us. So when you are marking your ballots this September, please use your vote to support the individuals listed below who have played key leadership roles in bringing about these significant achievements.

Jerry Dorfman — Jerry who serves as secretary/treasurer of the town, also chairs the Budget & Finance Committee and, over the past eight years, has been a member of six other committees. In addition, he brings to our Town the management experience from his previous business enterprises, including having owned his own small business. As chairman of the Budget & Finance committee, he has guided the financial direction that has been central to the town’s continuing strong financial council has made and underscores why we should reelect him once again.

Joseph Healy — Joe has been an important council member for the last six years and is an outstanding finance professional that has spent his entire life in the business world as a CPA and a financial advisor to many community organizations and activities. In today’s very uncertain economic environment, Bethany is indeed fortunate to have a council member who can offer that experience and guidance in both our accounting structure as well as our long-term strategic planning. His contributions in these areas have been important factors to the continued high ratings our Town has received from our outside auditors. In today’s uncertain economic environment, Bethany needs his financial expertise for the next two years.

Chuck Peterson — We are indeed fortunate (with the retirement of Carol Olmstead) to have an individual with the background, talents and vision of Chuck Peterson on the ballot. A former executive in the Internal Revenue Service whose duties included strategic planning and budgeting, he has also served on five town committees and now chairs one of them. In addition, he has been a co-manager for the Tax-Aide program at St. Ann’s church — one that annually helps some 1,000 folks in our community (maybe you) with preparing and filing their tax returns. In many ways, he is someone that has been deeply involved with our town’s activities and clearly represents the highly qualified candidate needed to provide the leadership to the Town for now and in the coming years.

Don Doyle
Bethany Beach

Ferry family grateful for support

Editor:

The family of Tom Ferry would like to thank all of our friends, colleagues and community for the overwhelming expressions of sympathy we have received since his tragic passing. Every card, phone call, flowers and message has not been overlooked and are truly appreciated.

Tom was truly a great man who served God unselfishly, loved and adored his family and friends (and Redskins!), and created so many incredible memories for so many people. Tom had an incredible zest for life and his smile, gentle spirit and generosity will be dearly missed and never forgotten.

Rest in peace, Dad.

Tim Ferry
Fenwick Island

Bethany resident offers endorsements

Editor:

I strongly endorse Chuck Peterson for Bethany Beach Town Council. I attend town meetings and witness Chuck in action on the Finance Committee, Planning Commission, the Charter & Ordinance Review Committee and the 4th of July Parade Planning Committee.

His contributions are intelligent, articulate and energetic. He has always done his homework and presents an informed opinion. He knows how the town works and how to get things done.

Chuck also touches the community each spring when he volunteers countless hours preparing tax returns under the AARP program at St. Ann’s church. In addition, his management experience in the IRS and his tax-regulation expertise will be valuable to the town.

I know Chuck’s knowledge, experience and high energy level would be a great asset to our Bethany Beach Town Council. Please join me in voting Chuck Peterson into office, and returning Jerry Dorfman and Joe Healy to office.

R. Bruce Frye
Bethany Beach

Dorfman gets support for election bid

Editor:

Jerry Dorfman has been my friend and neighbor in Bethany West for 14 years. I have been a summer resident here for 29 years and was fortunate enough to buy my house in Bethany West in 2000. My three children were quite young at the time, and my husband could only make it down from New York every few weeks for a long weekend, so I have relied on my good neighbors to help me out quite heavily.

To my surprise and delight, Jerry and his wife, Cherie, were just planning on retiring down here full-time when I moved in. I couldn’t have asked for better neighbors. The Dorfmans are wonderful people: always there to lend a helping hand, always available with great advice. Jerry has been my children’s best advocate and confidante on many occasions. He has also helped out with my house problems in the middle of the cold winter and in the middle of the night in the summer when my water heater leaked all over the house!

Jerry has served this community with the same care, intelligence and diligence that he has shown me all these years. He has served on the Bethany Town Council as the treasurer and secretary and as such has assisted in keeping this town strong and financially sound. He has served on the board at our housing community, Bethany West, in many capacities, as well.

I have to say that whenever I speak to Jerry about pressing town or community issues, his views are always the same as mine. He truly has our best interest in mind on every issue. He is always on top of the current affairs and has the accurate facts to help assess the situations at hand.

If anybody is wondering who might be the best candidate for the next town council election, Jerry Dorfman is definitely your man!

Susan Getlan
Bethany Beach

Dorfman, Healy, Peterson get support

Editor:

On Saturday, Sept. 7, Bethany Beach voters will choose people to fill the three Bethany town council seats that come up for election this year. Of the seven candidates who are running, only three have the proven records to earn our votes for these positions which are so important to the way the town is governed.

Incumbents Jerry Dorfman and Joe Healy, along with Chuck Peterson, have the unquestionable qualifications, the impeccable credentials and the depth of experience to make them citizens upon whom we can rely to be effective town council members.

Each of them has diligently served the town for many years as a member of the town council and/or a member or chairman of town committees. Each of them has attended and participated in countless meetings, workshops and hearings of the town council and committees, as well as courses offered through the University of Delaware for the education of those involved in town governments.

Each of them has shown dedication and commitment to our Town of Bethany Beach by giving untold hours of his time studying and discussing questions that affect the quality of our lives in Bethany. Each of them is well-versed in town affairs and has a broad understanding of the finances, zoning, ordinances, policies and practices of the town.

Each of them is very familiar with the facts and complications surrounding issues faced by the town in the past, facing us in the present, and those on the horizon for the near future.

For more information on these candidates and to see their responses to questions, please look online. At www.bethany-beach.net, Mayor Tony McClenny has given all of the candidates for office the opportunity to present information to the voters. The Bethany Beach Landowners Association sent questions to all of the candidates, and their answers can be found at www.bbla.us. The BBLA is also mailing this information to all voters.

In addition, the Coastal Point will be sponsoring a candidates’ night on Friday, Aug. 23, at 7 p.m. at the Bethany Beach Town Hall. This will be a great opportunity to evaluate all those who have chosen to run for office.

Absentee ballots are available through the town for those who are unable to vote at the polls on Sept. 7 (call 302-537-3771).

I urge you to carefully consider all that Jerry Dorfman, Joe Healy and Chuck Peterson have to offer us and to vote for them for Bethany town council.

Joan Gordon
Lake Bethany

Hardiman endorses three for council

Editor:

Thinking about the upcoming election of Town Council members on Sept. 7, we have to consider candidate experience and other qualifications. It seems to me that one very important practical qualification requirement is a demonstrated ability and willingness to devote the considerable time and effort necessary to do a conscientious job as a council member.

At times, such as the recent council activities in connection with the rezoning, water tower and Streetscape issues, it’s almost a full-time job — with committee and council meetings, workshops and public hearings. All those involve time and effort in preparation, review of briefing materials, minutes, possible independent research and consideration of public input. It clearly involves more than voting on issues at a monthly meeting.

And then there are all the regular day-to-day responsibilities of council members, with, for example, staff briefings and meetings with the public on a wide variety of Town issues, and possibly also serving on committees. (All this as a volunteer without pay!) So, it seems to me that is the level of commitment needed to do a conscientious job as a council member.

In evaluating individual candidate qualifications on this factor, direct experience in Bethany Beach Town government, although not a prerequisite, is a definite plus, as it would be a record of demonstrated interest and participation in public meetings, volunteer work and commitment to public service.

With this in mind, I support Jerry Dorfman, Joe Healy and Chuck Peterson for election to the council. Each of them has a proven record of service to Bethany Beach over several years.

Jerry Dorfman has served on at least seven Town committees, including time as chairman of the Budget & Finance Committee, and on the council for seven years, to include service as secretary/treasurer of the Town for the past five years.

Joe Healy, a CPA, has served on the Budget & Finance Committee since 2006 and on the council for the past six years.

Chuck Peterson has served on the Audit Committee, Election Board, Planning Commission, the Charter & Ordinance Review Committee (as chairman), and the Fourth of July Parade Committee, in addition to local volunteer activities.

All of that adds up to significant contributions to effective and efficient Town government by those candidates. Their experience and records of service are more than sufficient to make the case for their election. Beyond that, on a personal note, even where I may disagree on a particular issue, I know them to be fair-minded individuals who try to do what they see as best for the Town.

For those reasons, I support and urge voters to elect Jerry Dorfman, Joe Healy and Chuck Peterson to the Town Council.

Jerry Hardiman
Bethany Beach

Peterson gets letter of support

Editor:

Since 1987, Bethany Beach has been a most special place for our family.

It’s obvious that a beautiful and well-managed town such as ours doesn’t happen by accident. I’m impressed by the voluntary efforts that past and present town council members have put forth for the residents and businesses of Bethany Beach — which brings me to why I’m voting for Chuck Peterson for town council in September.

Chuck is an experienced Town volunteer, having served on: the Planning Commission; the Election Board; the Audit Committee; and the Fourth of July Parade Committee. This experience has prepared Chuck well for the town council.

Chuck’s community involvement goes beyond these Town endeavors. He annually oversees the AARP’s free tax preparation program that benefits some 1,000 Bethany residents. He also serves on a local land strip committee that is working to halt the eroding strip of land between the Bethany Loop Canal and the Salt Pond, thereby preserving the Loop Canal for local residents’ use.

Chuck’s a hardworking volunteer who is well prepared for a seat on the town council. I hope you agree and will give him your vote.

Steve Piron
Bethany Beach

Builder doesn’t care for Bethany hotel

Editor:

My name is Ernie Raskauskas, and Cathy and our eight children first vacationed here in Bethany Beach in 1965. In 1966, we came looking to buy, since we loved this place for the family. There were no houses with washers and dryers, septic tanks, central heat and air, and Cathy and I wanted access to a swimming pool and tennis courts for the children.

I wound up buying property and developing on the west side of the ocean highway. I decided that 5,000 square feet was small for a house lot, so I incorporated restrictions in our developments for 7,000-square-feet minimum lot size and an off-street parking as a requirement. This was done for more than 800 building units.

The State of Delaware planners were amazed that a developer had set standards more stringent than the Town, and in time, the Town agreed and came up to our standards. I built 16 champion tennis courts and four pools and other amenities in our developments.

We now have 13 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, and I want them to have what our children had on the town boardwalk, which is, after all, the focal point of the entire community.

Yesterday I received Mr. Burbage’s “Good Steward” letter, which almost makes one want to pop into the closest church. I have no quarrel with Mr. Burbage. He has had an attractive hotel designed, and I am confident it would be well built. However, that is not the issue. Bethany does not need this hotel, and the arguments for it are all negative.

(1) The argument that something worse might be built is not convincing. The Town has many devices and mechanisms to control development. I have encountered them.

(2) The hotel would surely be connected to a national chain or reservation system.

(3) The rooms would probably have two queen beds in a room, but with one parking space.

(4) The town already has an adequate supply of family rental property available even at the height of the season. The hotel would probably not attract the type of families which have traditionally rented in Bethany, and many homeowners depend on some rental income.

(5) The building would unquestionably change the small-town streetscape with a massive building stretching along most of the southern end of the boardwalk.

(6) The building, even at three stories, would shade the beach in the late season, late afternoon sun, when many people come to avoid the earlier day crowds.

(7) Commercial activity in the building would not benefit the townspeople and would hurt the other businesses in this seasonal community where many struggle to survive.

(8) We do not need to draw more foot traffic to the boardwalk, and the hotel would virtually preempt that part of the boardwalk.

Our company, Resort Homes Inc., changed the face of Bethany but not its character. Mr. Burbage wants to change its character. What’s in it for the citizen taxpayers and summer house renters?

Ernie Raskauskas Sr.
Bethany Beach

Steele thanks BBLA, voters for efforts

Editor:

71 percent to 29 percent, or over 1,000 more votes for the hotel than against.

I would like to thank those who took the time to vote and decide.

Thank you, BBLA, for your presentation of both sides. It helped me decide.

I voted in favor.

Harry Steele
Bethany Beach

Day camp a hit, thanks to many

Editor:

Community Lutheran Church recently completed a two-week day camp for elementary-age children. Committed to making this a free day camp to allow all families to participate, we turned to community businesses to help support the camp.

Community Lutheran and the Day Camp children thank the Coastal Point, Tsunami Silkscreening, Landis Tree Farm, Giant, Harris Teeter, Mac Catering, Fenwick Crab House, Al Casapulla, and the Son & Sand Retreat Center (St. Peter’s Lutheran, Ocean City, Md.) for supporting this camp.

We are looking forward to next year’s camp, knowing members of our community are generous in supporting the project.

Sandra Wachter-Myers,
Co-Director
CLC Day Camp
Frankford