Letters to the Editor--June 19, 2009

Muddy Neck zoning change denied

The Sussex County Council in a 2-2-0 vote denied C/Z #1641 for Thomas E. Frank, who was seeking a change of zoning from AR-1 to B-1. Council members Joan Deaver and Michael Vincent voted to deny this application for the Muddy Neck Road zoning change, while Council Members Vance Phillips and Samuel Wilson voted to approve it.

Council member George Cole did not vote on this issue because he stated he may have a conflict of interest. Just for the record, George Cole is our council representative for Southeastern Sussex County, which includes areas near Bethany Beach and Ocean View. He is the real estate agent who sold this property to Thomas Frank.

First and foremost, I would like to thank the hundreds of neighbors, friends and residents who took the time to send faxed letters, sign petitions, e-mail friends and owners, and attend both the Planning and Zoning board public hearing on April 30, 2009, and the Sussex County Council public hearing on May 19, 2009. Without this grassroots effort, this denial would not have been possible.

A special thanks to Lori Fry, GaryLee Cox and Sandy Poole, who went door to door along with me and my husband, Pat, informing our neighbors of this unwelcome application for a change of zoning in our residential neighborhood.

Thank you to the Zoning and Planning Commission for their 4-0-1 vote to deny this application. (Board member Rodney Smith (Bethany Beach) did not participate in this application.) Without the recommendation made by Mr. Irwin Burton and the Zoning and Planning Commission to deny this change in zoning, the voices and concerns of the neighboring residents would not have been heard at this June 9, 2009 Sussex County Council meeting.

I was informed that no public testimony could be given at this council meeting. Our one and only chance to speak was at the council’s public hearing on this matter. Applications are on the agenda under old business for the sole purpose of a vote by the council. It was stated at this time that the Planning and Zoning Commission recommended denial for this Muddy Neck Road Zoning Change and the five reasons why the P & Z denied this application were read to the Council. It was then stated that the Council needed to refer back to the minutes of their public meeting held on May 19, 2009 to review all other testimony.

Why then was testimony allowed to be stated once again in favor of approval of this application? Sixteen reasons, listed from A to P, were stated in favor of Thomas Frank as to why this zoning change should take place. How unjust!

Why was there no testimony stating that over 370 faxed letters of opposition were received by the council, that hundreds of residents signed petitions opposing this zoning change and that many residents did attend their public hearing on May 19, 2009, and voiced their opposition, concerns, needs and wants for their residential area to remain as such – residential?

I urge all of you to go to sussexcountyde.gov and follow the prompts and listen to the audio of this past meeting on Tuesday, June 9, 2009, and listen to our elected officials in action.

If testimony is allowed to be presented once again on behalf of the applicant under old business, then testimony must also be stated once again on behalf of the residents under old business. The current procedure is biased and unfair.

How did we win? Not without the help of Councilwoman Joan Deaver! She is definitely the voice of the people. I was so very proud of her and how she spoke out at this meeting for her constituents. Thank you, Joan Deaver for listening to the people and their concerns, needs and wants for their residential area. I would also like to thank Councilman Michael Vincent, who followed the recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Board.

On behalf of all the residents in Ocean View, Frankford and Bethany Beach, I want to thank all of our local politicians who voted in favor of the “majority” and denied this change in zoning. After all, we must not forget what draws people to this beautiful, peaceful, residential area of Sussex County and why we chose this desirable location to live and vacation.

Diana M. Emlet
Ocean View
Vice-President of Providence Home Owners’ Associations

Farmers’ Market Benefit a huge success

The Bethany Beach Farmers’ Market Benefit, held June 10 and sponsored by the Cottage Café, was a huge success with a great turnout of support for local agriculture.

The organizational effort was spearheaded by Jean Wode and Lois Lipsett. Fresh market bread was donated by Old World Breads. Ed Kee, Delaware’s Secretary of Agriculture, participated, along with numerous local patrons and friends of agriculture.

Most notably, the Cottage Café owners, management and staff, including Brent Poffenberger, Tom Neulle, Lisa Welling, Sean Murphy, Amy Mulford and Brenna Morin, donated a portion of the proceeds, as well as their time, energy and patience in training “novice” bartenders like myself, along with Ellen Magee and Albert Hudson.

I have been involved with teaching and farming for 25 years, but I never realized how much skill and hard work is involved in operating a top-flight establishment like the Cottage Café.

A special appreciation goes to Lisa Welling of the Cottage Café, who won the 50/50 raffle and immediately donated her entire winnings back to the fundraiser event. I was touched by her gesture of selfless generosity, as well as her expressed desire to “pay it forward every now and then.”

The entire Cottage Café family and the generous citizens of Coastal Sussex paid it forward on June 10. The Bethany Beach Farmers’ Market could not thrive without such community support as we debut our third season on Sunday, June 28.

Carrie W. Bennett
Bethany Beach Farmer’s Market

Chamber thankful to many for support

On behalf of the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce, I want to thank all those who helped make our 10th annual Toll Brothers Taste of Coastal Delaware such a successful afternoon of fine food, music and community.

Special thanks go to our title sponsor, Toll Brothers, “America’s Luxury Home Builder,” as well as our supporting sponsors, Coastal Point, Giant Food, Delmarva Power, Delaware Today magazine and WMDT-TV47/CW3. Without their support, we could not put on this event to promote the Bethany Beach/Fenwick Island area as a destination for fine dining.

The participating restaurants truly went all-out to make this Taste of Coastal Delaware special. They include Armand’s Pizza, The Blue Crab of Bethany Beach, SoDel Concepts (Bluecoast Seafood Grill & Fish Market/Catch 54 Fish House/NorthEast Seafood Kitchen), Chalkboard Tavern & Grille, The Cottage Café Restaurant & Pub, Fat Tuna Grill, Fenwick Crabhouse, Harpoon Hanna’s, Jammin’ Jon’s Island BBQ, Magnolia’s Seafood Bar & Grill, Mango’s, Matteo’s Salsa Loco, Patsy’s Restaurant, Ray Ray’s Snack Shack and Sedona.

Beach Liquors in Bethany Beach and Bayville Package Store west of Fenwick Island provided wine service, and United Distributors of Delaware provided beer and wine service. We are also grateful to our special guest chef, John Shields of Gertrude’s in Baltimore, for coming out and doing a food demonstration.

An amazing number of local businesses and individuals provided assistance for this event, including Saul Centers, the company that operates the Marketplace at Sea Colony, for graciously allowing us to hold the event there, and the businesses in the Marketplace for their cooperation.

The Chalkboard Tavern helped with access to water and electricity, and ResortQuest provided us with use of the adjacent parking lot to the south of Marketplace for this event. Our thanks also to Lord’s Landscaping for providing decorative plants and Waste Management for trash services.

Finally, we are grateful to all who took the time to join us for this afternoon of food, music and community. We appreciate your ongoing support and hope you enjoyed the Toll Brothers Taste of Coastal Delaware.

Andrew Cripps, Executive Director
Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce

Crop Walk a big hit, thanks to many

On May 31, 2009, a Crop Walk was held in Bethany Beach – 107 people from the community and local churches walked. Money was donated from the churches, the community, businesses and community groups to support the walk that was sponsored by Church World Service and the Southeast Sussex Ministerium.

This was the 20th year for Sussex County. This year we collected $9,466.26 – 25 percent will be donated to the Pyle Center and the rest will be used in this country and around the world to help people living in poverty.

We want to thank the Nautical Sounds and Jamie Eglet for singing before the walk. The Bethany Beach police, led by Officer Dean were very helpful and did a wonderful job of helping us complete our walk.

Thank you also to the town of Bethany for letting us gather at the bandstand. We especially want to thank all the walkers and the people who donated to the walk. You made it a success.

Next year, we will be walking again and hope to have even more walkers.

Rose Mary Hendrix
Kathy Jankowski

Hocker not a sponsor, or supporter, of HB 193

Recently, I was incorrectly listed as a sponsor of a bill that would allow beer and wine to be sold in Delaware supermarkets. I do not support the legislation, and I was astonished that my name had been placed on House Bill 193.

After questioning the sponsor of the legislation, I was told my name had been inadvertently added to bill due to a clerical error. That mistake has since been corrected.

In fact, as a supermarket owner, the legislation presents a perceived conflict-of-interest for me. Should HB 193 come to the floor of the House of Representatives, I will not engage in the debate, nor will I cast a vote on the measure.

Personally, I believe alcoholic beverages are already easily available in Delaware and I do not see any need to change the way in which these products are retailed.

However, should HB 193 be enacted, I would be forced to carry beer and wine in my stores. I would rather not do this, but the nature of the business requires that I offer the same convenience as other markets. Failing to do so would give competitors an edge and place the people employed at my stores at risk.

House Bill 193 is currently in the House Revenue & Finance Committee.

State Rep. Gerald Hocker
R-38th District

Safe cycling in Bethany Beach

On my way from Ocean View to Bethany Beach, I noticed several cyclists traveling on the wrong side of traffic. I noticed cyclist who choose to ride on the sidewalks.

I read an article in the Washington Post on Sunday, about sharing the road. The article was offered by the Washington Area Bicyclist Association. The ideas are not new but perhaps we need to remind ourselves of how important street safety is. Here is waba@waba.org had to say.

• Cyclists must ride with traffic. Cyclists should not ride on sidewalks. (In Bethany, it is against the law)

• Cyclists should stay to the right on the road, but not too far right. A motorist passing too close puts a cyclist in the ditch.

• Drivers should give three feet of clearance.

• Cars should avoid the right hook, a prime cause of cycling accidents. Drivers passing cyclist make a right turn, leaving the cyclist no chance to avoid a collision. The motorist misjudges the biker’s speed.

• Everyone should exercise intersection etiquette.

• Cyclists are subject to the same laws as motorists. Stop means stop.

• Cyclists should slow down in congested areas and give an audible warning when approaching walkers and passing other cyclist.

We have many foreign workers wearing no helmets and dark clothing. Students rely on their bikes. We have visitors who overestimate our patience and think we are looking out for them. Both groups lack safe cycling habits.

Motorists making turns concentrate on observing busy traffic, looking for a good time to make that turn. Drivers are not looking for a bike coming the wrong way. No one notices the cyclist on the sidewalk.

I choose to ride on local, back roads in Sussex County. These roads have no shoulder or narrow shoulders. I know motorists become annoyed that they have to travel out and around me. The traffic is very fast, with no police presence. But that is another issue.

Maybe local police can issue warnings to cyclist not obeying the laws along route 26. I do not have the answer but as an avid cyclist, I hate to see someone hurt because they did something stupid.

Maureen Thomas
Bethany Beach