Attention turns to election in Bethany Beach

As the numbers came in last week on the non-binding referendum in Bethany Beach regarding a commercial lodging zone in the town, and the Bethany Beach Town Council later adopted those ordinances by a 6-1 margin, attention in Bethany is now being focused on the upcoming council election.

Six candidates are competing for three empty seats on the Bethany Beach Town Council, and two incumbents, Joe Healy and Jerry Dorfman, are among those candidates. Former council member Carol Olmstead is not seeking another term on council, so there promises to be at least one new face making decisions on the future of Bethany Beach.

If we have had one hot-button topic in this community over the past several months, it is indeed the future of Bethany Beach. Road work has made things difficult for downtown businesses this year, particularly in the spring and early summer weeks. This new commercial lodging zone will most likely result in a new hotel serving as the anchor of the town at the end of Hollywood Street, and acting as a de facto face of the town for those enjoying the beach.

There are also numerous questions regarding Bethany Beach’s role in the unincorporated areas surrounding the town, such as a proposed cell phone tower, speed limits on the highway and water issues. Add in issues surrounding beach replenishment, flooding and public safety, and there is a full plate for the candidates to digest, and for voters to consider.

We are proud to be hosting our second Bethany Beach Candidates Forum on Friday, Aug. 23, at 7 p.m. at Bethany Beach Town Hall. This is an opportunity for the public to come out and hear from the candidates themselves before they make their decisions on the election.

This is not a debate. It is a structured format where each candidate will have a few minutes to introduce his or herself, and then take turns answering the same question. We are compiling the questions from conversations amongst the staff, emails submitted by Bethany voters and pouring through old stories we have written on governmental issues in the town.

Our goal here is simple: We want to get out as much information to the voters as possible, and to treat each candidate with equal respect. By giving each candidate the same question, the voters will have the opportunity to make their most-informed decisions possible, and none of the candidates will feel like they are being singled out for one reason or another.

We also want to thank the people at Bethany Beach, in particular Town Manager Cliff Graviet and Town Clerk Lisa Kail, for their cooperation with the logistics of this, and the use of the Town’s Internet streaming capabilites.