Letters to the Editor -- September 10, 2010

Sea Pines president speaks out against BoA

While it is encouraging to see Sussex County start evaluating the current Board of Adjustment (BoA) operations with a workshop, even though it was devoid of public comment opportunity (“County looks at process,” Coastal Point, Aug. 20, 2010), it is still a “baby step” toward rectifying a flawed governmental agency.

As many readers may be aware, we (the owners and residents of Sea Pines Village, next to Bethany) are fighting in court (at a considerable expense) for the right (as we are entitled) to testify at hearings such as the one that led to approval of a massive 100-foot-tall, multiple-antenna-array cell tower right next to our homes.

At the heart of our appeal is the County’s exclusion of all 46 SPV homeowners (as well as other neighboring owners in Bethany Beach town) from the required customary advance written notification of the hearing, where we could have adequately presented prepared testimony and expert opinions. As such, contrary to law, the Board deprived a large number of us from a chance to meaningfully participate in a hearing directly affecting our properties.

BoA member Mills’ comments at the workshop indicating he “addresses every standard” for applications is interesting, given that at the initial cell tower hearing he stated (as taken directly from the transcript – feel free to look it up or listen to it on the County Web site), “all we have to do is give written notice to neighboring property owners within 200 feet.”

Then, when deciding whether to allow us a chance to testify at a subsequent hearing, he stated (along with Mr. Berl, the BoA attorney) that “written notification is a courtesy,” thereby creating new unpublished policy governing written notification (or lack thereof).

If notification is a “courtesy” rather than a requirement, then the BoA could routinely notify whomever they wanted to, whenever they chose to. Everyone, or no one. Notify an applicant’s “friends” when they wanted, or omit the “opposition” when it suited them.

I doubt the State or the County Council had this potential abuse in mind when they created the BoA laws and regulations. There is no more misguided logic and potential abuse of power than this. Most citizens believe in fairness and our right to due process in this country. The BoA is doing its best to ignore those principles, and it needs to be reformed.

Gary Bogossian, President
Sea Pines Village Homeowner’s Association
Bethany Beach

Fenwick guards say thank you

The United States Lifesaving Association National Championships were held last month in Huntington Beach, Calif., featuring the best lifeguards and athletes from across the country, as well as Hawaii. It is with great pride that we share with the community another excellent performance by the Fenwick Island Beach Patrol and the Sussex County Lifesaving Association.

The 4x100 relay team placed second in their quest of repeating as national champions, I repeated as Masters Beach Flag champion and Randy Vanderhook placed eighth in the Open Men’s Flags.

Overall, the Sussex County Lifesaving Association (guards from Rehoboth to Fenwick Island) placed second in the country behind Los Angeles County, Calif. All of the competitors should be commended for their hard work and effort as lifeguards and competitors.

These accomplishments would not have been possible without the financial support from the Fenwick Island community and businesses. Please know that the lifeguards are extremely grateful for your generosity, and we hope that you will share in the accolades that are well deserved.

There are numerous individuals and businesses that truly have been outstanding in their support and in lieu of trying to list everyone, please accept our thanks again for making this another memorable trip. A special thanks goes out to the Fenwick Island Beach Committee, Fenwick Island Town Council, Mickey’s Crab House and Maryland Screen Printers.

We hope that your summer has been safe and enjoyable, and please play it safe as lifeguard coverage on a full-time basis ends on Labor Day.

Tim Ferry, Captain
Fenwick Island Beach Patrol

Reader asks people to vote their conscience

Most of us have been busy all of our lives and have not been activists in the political process. Yes, we voted, usually with little enthusiasm, as we voted for the lesser of evils. The result of our many years of relative indifference is the possible collapse of the economy and the loss of freedom for us, for our children, and for our grandchildren.

The establishment politicians and we have brought us to this point. Our political leaders have lied to us for years, and we say, “That it is just politics” or the politicians line their pockets and we say, “They all do it.”

The potential loss of America should focus our thinking. We can no longer condone or accept such corrupt activity. Yes, candidates are imperfect people, as we all are. However, if they do not strive to be the best, and they simply accept the corrupt political environment as “That is just the way it is,” then they and we will have lost the American dream.

I encourage all voters to support candidates who have made a personal commitment to the U.S. and state constitutions and whose sincere religious beliefs would strongly inhibit corrupt activity. Our founding fathers were such men, and we have benefited from their efforts for more than 200 years.

Charles Moreland

Youngs asks that information be true

I write this letter as a result of the signs that are cropping up in South Bethany, a profusion of which are along Russell Road. “Save the trees, vote no on the survey/referendum,” the message these signs proclaim.

I will always support the right of people to express their opinion, and their right to have that opinion aired in a public venue. I do expect that those opinions expressed would refrain from using disinformation to make their points and exaggerate the position of their opponents, who have an equal right to their opinion, and to be heard without distortion.

A number of people have commented to me recently that the proposed recreational use of the plot of land known as Richard Hall Memorial Park incorporates the removal of all the trees on that plot of land.

This bears no resemblance to the truth and has no foundation in fact. I am prepared to state categorically, as a member of the town council, that I would never support a proposal that denuded that property, nor even one which substantially reduced the population of trees on the plot. An exaggeration of this magnitude is irresponsible and unbecoming a fair argument for the preservation of the land as it is.

“Vote no” is equally misleading, since the Town Council has yet to decide either the choice of a survey over a referendum or the wording to that survey/referendum. It is a little premature to assume the question would be worded to favor a vote for development, while it could just as easily be worded to favor the status quo; and I would hope it is more likely to be worded in a fashion that stays as close to neutral as is possible.

I appeal to the citizens of the town of South Bethany to continue the debate, exercise your rights, but do it in a way that is honest, ethical and non-threatening. In the long run, disinformation is more likely to backfire than it is to garner widespread support.

Rob Youngs, Council Member
South Bethany Town Council