Letters to the Editor -- July 19, 2013

Burbage discusses

Burbage discusses his love for Bethany

Life is good in Bethany Beach. We all know Bethany as one of the “Quiet Resorts.” One reason for this is the fact that a very high percentage of families visit us during the summer season.

Our Quiet Resort offers all a family could possibly want. From our pristine beaches to what most consider the highest quality of life available at any East Coast resort, Bethany Beach offers every family member something significant and memorable.

One of the reasons Bethany Beach remains so popular with families is the town’s respect for all the traditions that are evident in all the Quiet Resorts. It is no easy feat to keep tradition alive while moving ahead to meet the changing needs of the families who visit us.

Sometimes we do not realize or simply forget just how much Bethany keeps up-to-date while respecting the traditions that made us popular with families.

Here are two quick examples of Bethany keeping up-to-date that relate to our beach: For the first time, thanks to the Town of Bethany Beach, family members can access free Internet on the Beach. Because all of us want to set a good example for all family members, there is a smoking ban on the beach except for designated areas for those who wish to smoke.

These two examples reflect positive changes that are important to family members who live, work, visit and own property in Bethany Beach.

There are many other positive changes that are beginning to take place in Bethany. One of those proposed positive changes is the movement to build a brand-new oceanfront hotel facility.

The construction of a new oceanfront hotel facility on the Bethany boardwalk at Hollywood Street would help energize the Bethany Beach downtown area and provide much-needed local accommodations. Basically, it would replace the lodging rooms that have been, or will be, lost with a beautiful three-story traditional Bethany hotel.

This property is currently under a contract of sale, and the new CL-1 zoning is required to complete the sale. The new Commercial Lodging (CL-1) zone would correct a Bethany zoning anomaly where the Bethany Arms Motel and Apartments property are currently zoned C-1 Commercial and partly R-1 Residential.

It is important for all to understand that the Bethany Arms Motel and Apartments property will be sold, and that the new CL-1 zoning will benefit Bethany Beach. Replacing the three-story Bethany Arms Motel with a new three-story oceanfront hotel facility built by Burbage Properties represents the one best way to improve the existing property while taking into consideration the traditions of the Quiet Resorts. If the hotel is not built, the alternative could be problematic.

Because of our background and experience, Burbage Properties understand the challenges, risks and responsibilities associated with building oceanfront properties. One of our finest buildings is the Holiday House/Mango’s restaurant complex on the Bethany boardwalk at Garfield Parkway. Our new proposed Bethany Beach Hotel project would be built just one block south on the boardwalk at Hollywood Street.

Zoning technicalities aside, the new proposed Bethany Beach oceanfront hotel, with about 100 suites along with its many new and exclusive amenities, will be a great benefit to all of the Quiet Resorts. This new oceanfront hotel will be viewed as one of the best accommodations on the Delmarva Peninsula. In addition, this oceanfront facility will become a new community focal point and will offer a myriad of year-round activities that both locals and visitors will enjoy.

We look forward to building a hotel facility that the entire town can use and one that will make the residents very proud.

We hope you will join us to keep Bethany moving ahead by supporting our new oceanfront hotel project and the new CL-1 zoning.

Jack Burbage
Bethany Beach

Reader supports lowering speed limits

The speed limit in North Bethany Beach on Route 1 needs to be reduced!

Over the past 15 years, more and more communities, more and more houses and more and more people have moved into North Bethany Beach. Many of these people live on the west side of Route 1 and need to cross this four-lane highway to get to the beautiful beach.

Additionally, over these same 15 years, the speed limit has increased from 50 mph to 55 mph. This is another accident waiting to happen!

Many beachgoers carrying chairs, umbrellas, towels and children take their lives in their own hands trying to cross this speedway. You no longer need to go to the Georgetown Speedway to see cars racing. Just stand by Route 1 and try to cross it anywhere in North Bethany. If the speed limit is 55 mph, you know the cars must be going 65 mph.

Let’s reduce the speed limit to 35 mph just north of the first residential community as you head south. This reduced speed limit currently takes place as you approach Dewey Beach, Bethany Beach and South Bethany. This will only increase the amount of time it takes to get to downtown Bethany by five minutes.

But this simple change will make the highway much safer for pedestrians crossing the road or other drivers slowing down to turn into their communities.

Let’s increase our safety at the beach by decreasing the speed limit!

Randy Forster
North Bethany Beach

LHS grateful for support with craft fair

On Saturday, July 13, the weather cleared after a stormy Friday, and close to 2,500 regional residents and visitors attended the Lewes Historical Society’s Summer Craft Fair. All of the supportive patrons, over 70 top-quality vendors, generous volunteers, staff and press coverage made this year’s festival a success.

The Lewes Historical Society would like to thank the wonderful Summer Craft Fair vendors, patrons and the volunteers who committed their time for the success of this event. Furthermore, we would like to thank the Craft Fair Committee, Old & New Bluegrass band and Casa Amici and Vitales for providing delicious refreshments.

I would like to invite you to our next community events, our Antiques Show on Aug. 3, Cannonball Race on Sept. 15, and Fall Craft Fair on Oct. 5.

Thank you all for your support.

E. Michael DiPaolo, Executive Director
Lewes Historical Society

Cluck, cluck — we don’t want no chicken truck

This is regarding the Allen Harim Poultry Processing Plant, intended for the old Pinnacle Plant on Iron Branch Road, in Millsboro.

From Day 1, we have been lied to, danced around with so-called answers and treated like we do not count. We never knew about the meeting in Georgetown, on June 3, until the day of the meeting. Only because someone came around with a flier. This meeting was for the permit for potentially hazardous material.

We were told at this meeting there would only be 25 trucks, only to find out, the meeting of June 17, there would now be 87 trucks — big difference! Or will it change again? We were told that this would open up 700 jobs, only to find out that their Web site stated a third of those jobs would be for South Koreans and after one year of labor in the facility, they would become legal citizens. The next day, that was taken off of the Web site. Hmmm…

We already have two Superfund sites and a cancer cluster in Millsboro. The National Guard delivered water in 2005, when 1,200 residents’ water was contaminated from the making of poultry vaccines. Isn’t this enough problems already? Take the chicken plant in the country, where it can handle the 100 factory farms they want to use to supply the chickens to the processing plant, which we didn’t find out about until the 17th meeting.

A pickle plant and a chicken processing plant are two entirely different entities and should not even be compared, which they did. They should not be allowed to transfer permits, which they are trying to do. This is just a few concerns I have and a few of the misleading information we have been told. I could write a 10-page letter, but I have to keep this short to be printed.

We do not want the chicken plant. Take it somewhere else. I have an idea: Put in in their front yard, not ours!

Cindy Wilton

Blevins discusses General Assembly

During the first session of the 147th General Assembly, we have confronted some of the most challenging issues to come before this body in recent memory, and we have done so in a way that has respected the varying and deeply-held views on both sides of these issues. But look beyond the headlines and you will see the many ways that the General Assembly, including Senate Democrats, has focused on creating jobs for Delawareans and improving the lives of those who make Delaware home.

Making Delaware a friendly place to do business, so that companies continue to expand and locate here, has never been more important than it has in the last few years. Businesses in the state have been concerned about a dramatic increase by insurance companies in workers’ compensation rates, which was the No. 1 issue brought to officials from the business community in recent months. That’s why I worked with Lt. Gov. Matt Denn and businesses to craft a plan that will freeze rates for two years and take a number of steps to bring those costs under control and relieve businesses of future increases.

Other employment and business issues were addressed, as well. I took the lead in the Senate in implementing Gov. Markell’s plan to reduce tax rates on manufacturers by 30 percent in order to bring more manufacturing jobs to Delaware. Sen. Robert Marshall steered the way on a number of issues relating to retaining blue-collar jobs, including creating a task force to devise further ways to keep these kinds of jobs that have lifted generations of Delawareans into the middle class, including jobs at the Port of Wilmington.

Good schools are critical to bringing jobs to Delaware, since companies want to locate in regions where their employees’ children will get a quality education and do business in a state where schools will produce a ready and effective workforce. Sen. David Sokola, the Senate’s education leader, worked with the administration to improve our schools through comprehensive measures to increase teacher preparation, and reform the laws governing our State’s charter schools. Meanwhile, Sen. Nicole Poore sponsored legislation to make the school choice process less bureaucratic and more user friendly, hopefully opening educational options for more students and their parents.

In addition to the issues that contribute to our state’s economy, Senate Democrats took on issues to improve and protect the lives of their constituents.

Sen. Margaret Rose Henry put a cap on the costs to patients for “specialty tier” prescription drugs, easing the burden on families of those with serious medical conditions whose drug costs were running into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Veterans’ organizations in Delaware found a champion in Sen. Brian Bushweller, who spent considerable time this year working out a solution which allows them to continue their charitable support of surrounding communities.

Sen. Hall-Long has worked to crack down on medical facilities that try to operate without a license, and to allow the state to penalize medical, service and other professionals who violate the public trust that has been placed in them.

Residents of manufactured home communities, who have lived in fear of no longer being able to afford their land rent and, as a result, needing to abandon the home they own, have had a continued champion in Sen. Bruce Ennis, whose legislation would stop unjustified land rent increases. This issue, which he has headed for years, is finally coming to fruition because of his determination.

Sen. David McBride, along with Sen. Poore, were the Senate sponsors on legislation to eliminate a decades-old limit on how much oil companies would have to contribute in restitution should there ever be significant oil spill from a ship or train. Now, those companies responsible would have to cover the entire cost.

Laws providing greater access by the public to government meetings and records under the Freedom of Information Act have continued to be advanced by Sen. Karen Peterson, a longtime leader on open government issues.

Sen. Bryan Townsend took on the weighty issue of sentencing for juveniles who are found guilty of murder, ensuring that sentences comply with recent Supreme Court decisions so that sentences cannot be overturned on appeal and justice can be served.

Responsive and responsible spending is another core obligation of government. The State’s operating budget, which has passed the General Assembly and has been signed by the governor, limits growth in expenses and will maintain the State’s obligations to fund schools and provide health care for those who need it — the two areas that constitute the majority of our budget.

Among the very few new programs included in the budget, crafted by Joint Finance Committee Co-Chair Sen. Harris McDowell, are programs to improve mental health services to children in middle schools, where there was previously a gap. Similarly, the “Bond Bill,” consisting of construction and other one-time projects, focused limited resources on schools, roads and other investments in our state that will improve quality of life, ensured by Chair Sen. Robert Venables.

While social issues did receive significant attention this legislation session, the legislature also tackled a host of initiatives designed to get our state’s economy moving and to look out for the best interests of our citizens. In spite of persistent challenges, we have accom¬plished lasting and important achievements that will, we believe, make Delaware a more welcoming and safer place. The Senate Democratic Caucus is proud to have led the way in these areas.

Patricia M. Blevins, President Pro Tempore
Delaware State Senate

Reader objects to notice for hearing

As a concerned resident of Millsboro, I have to call attention to some questionable procedures for public notice and public hearing in the special-use exception for potentially hazardous use by the Board. The issue revolves around Allen Harim Foods taking over the old Pinnacle Plant (Vlasic).

This new use will have a great impact on this environmentally sensitive area, as well as the residents’ assurance of protection of public water, public health and quality of life issues. There are two schools within one mile of this operation. To rush this through, without an assessment of health and environmental impacts is in itself reckless. There were no approved plans submitted, just lots of promises of jobs and unrealistic reasoning that this will be essentially the same operation as Vlasic.

The community is very aware the poultry processing plant is not a seasonal operation and has a greater potential of effects on public health, the environment, public water and their property values. The suggestion of transferring permits is ridiculous. We are talking about slaughtering 335,000 birds every week. There is blood, mortality and wastewater, as well as incredible air pollution. The traffic alone is unreasonable because of all the growth in the past 20 years.

The board has a responsibility of posting a public notice about public comment to agency responses. Nowhere was a public notice posted that public comment can be given to agency responses on this operation. Also, is it reasonable to give agencies a 30-day comment period and the community a seven-day response period? An operation of this magnitude deserves a fair hearing.

Bruce Ballantine

Killmer shares views on hotel proposal

Editor’s note: The following letter was addressed and mailed to citizens of Bethany Beach and was also sent to the Coastal Point for publication.

You probably have received or are about to receive a letter authored by a few citizens regarding their objection to a proposal by Mr. Jack Burbage to replace the current Bethany Arms Motel with a modern upscale hotel at the same location. As chairman of the Town’s Planning Commission under Mayors Walsh, Olmstead and McClenny, I would like to present an alternative perspective to a number of points raised by this group.

As the chairman of the Planning Commission at the time of the last major update of the Town’s 2005 Comprehensive Plan (under Mayor Walsh), as well as the current 2010-2020 Comprehensive Plan, I would like to explain that every municipality in Delaware has an obligation to create their own Comprehensive Plan. Plans are created by the Planning Commissions and approved by their respective Town Councils and are not created by the State and surely not by the governor. The signature by the Governor is simply a stamp of approval by the State that Bethany Beach has created a well-thought-out and forward-thinking plan that complies with the State’s requirements regarding long- and medium-term development plans and not the other way around.

The Plans are just that, a plan for the future. They are made to evolve; they are made to change as needs arise. Many times in the last few decades, the Town of Bethany Beach has changed zoning designations within our community and subsequently changed our Comprehensive Plan.

Our current Comprehensive Plan, which took the Planning Commission over a year to create, is close to 100 pages in length, is extensively researched and, more importantly, created by Planning Commission members who are your friends and neighbors. The same Planning Commission that created this Comprehensive Plan, who lived its creation page by page, have carefully reviewed the proposed zoning changes presented in this mailing and recommended those changes be presented to the State Office of Planning.

The Planning Commission unanimously believes these changes are in-keeping with the Comprehensive Plan, and, more importantly, in the best interest of all of Bethany Beach!

Unfortunately, phrases from the Town’s Comprehensive Plan are being “cherry-picked” as representing the plan in its entirety, and that is definitely not the case. Does the plan speak to no “dramatic intensification” of commercial uses? Yes, it does. That is exactly what the rezoning of all the Bethany Arms Motel property will accomplish.

Some have chosen to forget that for six decades the old Blue Surf Motel (torn down in 2008) and the Bethany Arms Motel existed side by side, providing motel accommodations that are the conservative equivalent of a motel with 115-plus rooms.

It has been warned that “a 100-plus-room hotel on the boardwalk is not in-keeping with the Comprehensive Plan and will have a deleterious impact on our community.” This is a statement that certainly ignores recent reality and demonstrates little working knowledge of the Comprehensives Plan. The plan specifically addresses accommodations in Bethany Beach, speaking to hotels and motels, and it addresses the benefits of maintaining existing accommodations to help the Town achieve its overall goal “establishing a family oriented, quiet, residential community.”

The Comprehensive Plan said this in 2005, and we have since lost the Blue Surf Motel. It says the exact same thing in the 2010 Comprehensive Plan. If we do not proceed with some forethought and logic, we are about to lose the last hotel/motel accommodations in our community, simultaneously creating the opportunity for the “dramatic intensification” of commercial uses on a property that previously housed only commercial lodging.

I ask as a person that cares passionately about our community to please take the time to carefully review the information presented in this mailing and, if you have any questions, please make sure they are answered and resolved.

Lew Killmer
Bethany Beach