Fenwick candidates get their say on issues


Five candidates will vie for four spots in Fenwick Island’s election in voting from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow at town hall. Four of the candidates have already served on the council. Two candidates are currently serving. One candidate has never served. In this question-and-answer session, all of the candidates talked about development outside of town, their feelings on the town’s height limit, environmental stewardship and the biggest issue facing Fenwick Island.

Audrey Serio

Q. Why are you running for a seat on Fenwick’s town council?

A. I am running for my third term on the Fenwick Island Town Council. I would like to complete issues that the council is working on, such as recycling, of which we expect to have an agreement with the Delaware Solid Waste Authority in August, and the sidewalk project, which we have been told will be moved toward the front of the Delaware Department of Transportation project list once our comprehensive plan has been completed, approved and adopted, as our planning commission and our consultants have arrived at a better and simpler way to complete this work. There are numerous other projects, as well, that are at this time in different stages of completion. We have made great progress in not only these two areas but others as well.

I feel as though I can be a positive force in seeing these projects through. I have been a resident of Fenwick Island for over 60 years. My children have grown up here, and now my grandchildren are doing the same. It is important to me that our town keep the same atmosphere but with the changes which will improve life as we know it in Fenwick Island. Change is a good thing and the backbone of our existence. Planned change is the key for the town.

Q. What are your qualifications?

A. I have served two terms on the Fenwick Island Town Council. My positions on the council have been commissioner of police and public works, treasurer and president of council. Each of these positions has given me a stronger background as how our town government functions. My personal work experience also adds a dimension which I feel is important as well: teacher, retail shop owner, restaurant owner and of course at this time, a Realtor who owns my own office in the area. I have been president of a large state organization which is part of one of the largest national trade organizations. Here, I received much training in goal planning, as well as being able to make sure an organization is able to operate smoothly and to see that the goals are met. All of the above makes me a strong candidate for the election on council.

Q. How much of an impact does development outside of Fenwick have on the town?

A. Development outside our town boundaries does have an influence on our town in numerous ways. Each area is not separate from the others. In years prior, many felt if we stayed to ourselves and let the world go by, we would remain the same. This, of course, just does not work, and I think time has proved this. Today, our society is very mobile, which of course affects us with traffic and safety issues. Our town contains one of the most sought-after commodities here – the beach and ocean, as well as the bay.

Q. What can the town do to have a say in such development?

A. It is our responsibility to work on a way to live with those that we will have to share this area with. Again, planned change with the authorities who we have to work with should be at the forefront of our agendas. The growth can be positive for our town and our commercial areas. It is up to us to makes sure that this growth is planned and that we have the ability to plan the changes that our town will face. We need to become involved in the groups which help mold these changes so that we are aware of what is going on and will have the opportunity to express council’s positions.

Q. What is your position on the town’s building height limit?

A. When the question comes up about “building height,” my question goes back to what are we discussing here? I am, of course, against raising the height so that it will create any multi-story buildings which would destroy the town which we all love. But on the other side of the issue, I feel that it is time that reason steps in and allows us to do work that many feel needs to be done. Many feel that the way of measuring the height is not fair to all. I think that we should look at this with an engineering firm to review this process. The other issue which we may be facing, if not now but in the near future, is the pitch of our roofs that our present height restriction has created. This affects our insurances and product guarantees. I am not suggesting that the height be raised but that if there is a valid reason for the change that it be considered, of course without allowing more living space within the raised area.

Q. Residential development along Route 1 threatens the town’s commercial zone and commercial activity in town, which supports residents and visitors, some have said. Do you see that as a problem?

A. The change of the commercial zone to residential, which we saw during the recent real estate spike, is a problem that many towns and cities are facing.

Q. What can the town do to reach out to business owners, many of whom feel hamstringed by restrictive parking and setback ordinances?

A. I think that the town will have to work on a plan to help keep the commercial that we do have, as well as attract other businesses into our town. Commercial is very important to keeping a strong town. We see this every day – old towns losing commercial and dying and the new developments including commercial in their community knowing that this will make the community more attractive and stronger by offering what is needed by the residents. Again, the key word here is planning.

Q. What is your opinion on the town comprehensive plan?

A. The comprehensive plan is an extremely important document for the town to have. I am very proud that we are now in the last stages of completing this plan. We of the council, many committees, the planning commission and the residents of Fenwick Island have had to look at our past, along with creating a plan for the future of the town. What a great process it has been! It has allowed us to create a plan which walks hand-in-hand with our past. We were fortunate to have hired a first-class independent planning group who had the experience in the planning field to make sure that the process took place properly and is the entity that is our liaison with the state and county. This is only a plan and will and can be massaged as time goes on. I feel that we have moved forward light years in that we finally have a map to follow for our town. Now that the state has our plan and knows that the town has a map to follow, they will be more confident in our ability to use the grant monies to fulfill our approved plan and therefore have access to more grants. The comprehensive plan will enable us as a small town to go to the state and have our opinions listened to as it will be part of our bigger plan.

Q. What is the most important aspect of any such plan?

A. The importance of having such a plan is that our town can be more proactive rather than reactive as we now have a planned direction to go in.

Q. Martha Keller, the town’s longtime environmental steward, is stepping away from her council seat. How should the town continue to address environmental issues and why?

A. We have others who also have a great interest in the environment and I am sure that this concern in the environment will continue to be an important part of the council’s concerns.

Q. What is the role of a council member in the town, which now, for the first time, has a town manager to oversee administrative activities?

A. The council is a governing body for our town. The day-to-day operations are assigned to our town manager. He reports to the council concerning these tasks. It is the council’s job to review our code and ordinances, make decisions on new items pertaining to our code and ordinances and to make sure that our town is strong financially. It is very important the that members of council follow the rules which have been made, which make our town manager the center of operation, and not feel as though they can independently act in certain areas. The town manager by job description is to be talking to different entities concerning contracts, etc., and the council is the body who will approve or disapprove any contract or agreement. Hopefully, the days of decisions being made by one or two persons are over and that the council, as an entity, is aware of all issues and makes a decision. Our town manger will also represent the town at many meetings and functions. It will be his responsibility to make all of council award of issues going on within and outside our borders.

Q. What, do you believe, is the biggest issue facing Fenwick Island and how should it be dealt with?

A. Our first issue is to approve and adopt the comprehensive plan. Of course, this will entail the process of the state review and approval. Hopefully, this can be accomplished by late fall. The next step will be to review all ordinances and the code to make the plan and the charger and code walk hand-in-hand. This will be a lengthy process. This will give the town the opportunity to review all their ordinances and make other updates as well. The town will have to look at the everyday operations and make sure that they are in step with our plan and are completing the goals set forth. At this time this plan will give us the opportunity to take each and every aspect of our town and make sure that they are working at common goals and are in writing so that all residents, as well as future councils, can see what these goals have been and that there has been a map for getting there. All issues will eventually fit into this process – what are our goals and how do we get there? We should become a more proactive town, rather than a reactive town.

Vicki Carmean

Q. Why are you running for a seat on Fenwick’s town council?

A. I am running because I love Fenwick Island. This feeling began years and years ago when my husband and I were looking for a good Delaware beach and found Fenwick by accident. That was the beginning … so we kept coming back, again and again, until we bought property here. We built the first version of our beach house in the 70’s, but always dreamed of the time when we could retire and stay here. Now that I am retired, I have the time and energy to give back to the community that has provided so many happy memories for our family.

Q. What are your qualifications?

A. Uh-oh! This is going to make me feel uncomfortable because of all the “I” information. Teamwork is very important to me, and there is no “I” in the word team. However, here is a summary:

• Bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Delaware’

• Thirty years as a public school teacher and counselor working with lots and lots of people in all kinds of planning and crisis situations;

• Service on innumerable local, regional and state committees and workshops;

• Four years on the Fenwick Island Town Council;

• Secretary of the Council;

• Environmental chairperson;

• Parks & Recreation Committee;

• Beautification Committee chairperson;

• Beach Committee;

• Parks, Recreation & Beautification Committee chairperson;

• Administration commissioner;

• Comprehensive Plan Working Committees: Housing and Natural Environment;

• Barefoot Gardeners, co-founder; first vice-president, 2004-2007; president 2007-2009.

Q. How much of an impact does development outside of Fenwick have on the town?

A. There is considerable impact on the town from development outside of Fenwick. First, there are additional traffic and parking demands just from people wanting to access the beaches. Of course, this probably is good news for the merchants, who need the revenues from the summer visitors in order to run a successful business. On the other hand, parking is very limited and the town has no “bathhouse” facilities to accommodate the visitors. Therefore, it is very important that the State takes a serious look at expanding the State Park facilities to the north of the town. Development has also had a serious impact on water quality and recreational traffic on the Little Assawoman Bay.

Q. What can the town do to have a say in such development?

A. This is one of the reasons why I am such a strong supporter of the town’s Comprehensive Plan. Listed under “Area of Concern” is the entire watershed area encompassing the Little Assawoman Bay. While the residents of Fenwick generally agree about not wanting to annex any areas around the town, we also want, as per the proposed Comprehensive Plan, to have a formal review process followed by the State and county “to insure that the town is notified of proposed land use applications for properties within the Area of Concern.” The county would then be obligated to contact the town for the review and discussion of new developments.

Q. What is your position on the town’s building height limit?

A. I feel that that the 30-foot restriction is a realistic and workable regulation. At this point in time, the town is about 70 percent built out with very few open lots left. Of course, there are a number of older cottages that could be bought and demolished for new structures. Those of us who are already here have managed to work around the height restrictions with gambrel roof lines, cathedral ceilings and various creative architectural design features. Those people who insist on high ceilings and three floors usually end up with flat roofs, which is a choice that anyone is free to make.

Q. Residential development along Route 1 threatens the town’s commercial zone and commercial activity in town, which supports residents and visitors, some have said. Do you see that as a problem?

A. Fortunately, Fenwick has two primary land uses, residential and commercial, that are the key elements of a traditional town. As time has passed, land values have made it increasingly attractive to change commercial properties into residential properties. Some residents feel that the market should be the key factor in deciding the commercial area’s future. Other residents argue just as strongly that the commercial area’s possible demise would change the character of the town, and therefore, the commercial area should be kept intact with incentives. I feel strongly that a balance should be struck between these two lines of thought. The Comprehensive Plan’s proposed overlay district, along with additional guidelines, could help both the residential and commercial areas enhance Fenwick’s character as a “quiet resort.”

Q. What can the town do to reach out to business owners, many of whom feel hamstringed by restrictive parking and setback ordinances?

A. The proposed Comprehensive Plan also addresses this concern and suggests a number of possible solutions, including the overlay district plan, shared parking, sidewalks, bicycle paths, etc. These ideas, of course, need further study, discussion, code revisions and detailed design. The future promises to be an exciting time for change – but the change should preserve “the quiet resort” character that makes Fenwick so attractive to residents and visitors.

Q. What is your opinion on the town comprehensive plan?

A. I feel that this will be the best thing that has happened to Fenwick since water and sewer services arrived. The plan is about five years overdue, but as the saying goes, “Better late than never.” While a lot of people are confused by the plan and think that the document will somehow become another regulation, the plan is really a pattern or a vision that the town can follow, develop or revise as the community so chooses. It will give the town a sense of direction that will lead to an improved way of doing business.

Q. What is the most important aspect of any such plan?

A. Aside from the fact that the plan has been developed from a community-based dialogue among the residents, working group committees and Planning Commission, the best aspect of the proposed plan is the proposed overlay district that could dramatically change the appearance of “Main Street” or Route 1, which intersects the town. It is my understanding from attending many of the meetings, that once the state approves the plan, the town will move from the bottom of DelDOT’s Pedestrian Plan list to somewhere near the top. Not only will the overlay district plan improve the appearance of the town, but it will also make it safer for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Q. Martha Keller, the town’s longtime environmental steward, is stepping away from her council seat. How should the town continue to address environmental issues and why?

A. Fenwick Island absolutely cannot afford to ignore the various aspects of its natural environment because so much of Fenwick is the environment… the beach, ocean, bay and canals. If one of these areas is degraded and becomes unhealthy, then everything else is impacted. Some of the larger environmental issues depend on regional and intergovernmental coordinated efforts to protect the natural environment; however, the town has a big responsibility in handling day to day contacts with these amenities. The town also has an obligation to be prepared for natural environmental hazards, such as flooding, erosion and storms. What might appear to be a seemingly simple statement about preservation can actually become a very complicated subject. While there are already regulations on the books that can be enforced, the town’s Comprehensive Plan also proposes to review the existing situations so that new and more creative approaches can be discussed with the idea of making Fenwick “an environmental leader” for the Coastal communities.

Q. What is the role of a council member in the town, which now, for the first time, has a town manager to oversee administrative activities?

A. First, I feel that it is absolutely wonderful that Fenwick Island now has a town manager who can take care of the day-to–day operations in the town. From observations made during my previous four years on Council, I could see where some members became enmeshed in the everyday operations of the town, which is not very healthy for either the council or the well-being of the community. Since the town now has a new but knowledgeable town manager, I feel that council members can now effectively handle the larger issues, such as policy and ordinances. It should be up to the town manager to see that these are then carried out.

Q. What, do you believe, is the biggest issue facing Fenwick Island and how should it be dealt with?

A. There are actually two big issues facing Fenwick, the first of these is town and state approval of its Comprehensive Plan. As I mentioned before, Fenwick cannot effectively move forward with a sense of direction until this is done. Once the plan is in place, then the town can make one-, two- or five-year plans that will appropriately guide infrastructure development and other programs for the future. The second biggest issue deals with money management, especially with setting up budgets that do not require realty transfer tax monies to cover daily operations. The present council has done an excellent job saving $100,000 in this year’s budget and cutting expenses for the proposed 2007-2008 budget. I am a fiscal conservative who believes in limited spending, avoiding new taxes and reserving the uncertain realty transfer tax monies for emergency situations and special projects.

Chris Clark

Q. Why are you running for a seat on Fenwick’s town council?

A. I love Fenwick Island! I would like to continue to contribute to the forward progress that is being made by the staff, council, public (both commercial and residential).

Q. What are your qualifications?

A. See first sentence response in answer No. 1. A resume is just a list of past accomplishments. I believe that attitude, dedication and teamwork and some creativity are all that are needed to help contribute to the present and future of Fenwick Island.

Q. How much of an impact does development outside of Fenwick have on the town?

A. A big impact! More people, larger structures, less open space equals more environmental impact. This may be through increased beach traffic, less wetlands for groundwater filtering and storm buffering or increased pollution. Any (re)development inside or outside of the town will have an impact on the Little Assawoman Bay watershed. This does not imply that I am against development; I believe that there are better methods that can benefit all members of the community.

Q. What can the town do to have a say in such development?

A. The town could either annex, which is not the direction of choice in the current comprehensive plan, or they can establish an area of concern. This area of concern will allow Fenwick to be directly included in the county land-use process.

Q. What is your position on the town’s building height limit?

A. I like the height limit and feel that it has helped to contribute to maintaining some of the charm of Fenwick. I do believe that it needs to be reviewed, as there are discrepancies in town that have been brought to the attention of council.

Q. Residential development along Route 1 threatens the town’s commercial zone and commercial activity in town, which supports residents and visitors, some have said. Do you see that as a problem?

A. The character of the Route 1 corridor is changing and the town continues to be impacted by the traffic on Route 1. Commercial activity contributes to the vitality of the town and to the value of residential property. Loss of a major activity in Fenwick will be felt by all; whether it is no beach, a polluted bay or no more commercial activity. Balance is what makes a good town, great. Nobody wants to lose the Dairy Queen. I don’t either. Therein lies the challenge, how to preserve what the town wants, with what is fair for all.

Q. What can the town do to reach out to business owners, many of whom feel hamstringed by restrictive parking and setback ordinances?

A. This is another area that requires work from both parties. The town in the past has continued to be more and more restrictive on business and doing minimal work to help make the commercial area a better place to do business. There are also numerous businesses in town that operate only in their own self-interest; they take their money and do not maintain a presentable store front. The town also has some great businesses that look wonderful and provide positive interactions with our community. They donate prizes to groups and support the lifeguards. This “reaching out” process is going to be an ongoing process. Items have been identified in the comp plan. There will also be additional opportunities to evaluate situations where the town as a whole may benefit from improvements to the commercial area. The key to this subject is going to be time.

Q. What is your opinion on the town comprehensive plan?

A. The comp plan has been a good learning opportunity for the town. We wanted to dig into all of the details of town so that the town would have a solid footing on which to base all future decisions. The most wonderful part of the plan was the number of volunteers that participated at every step thus far.

Q. What is the most important aspect of any such plan?

A. The most important aspect now will be implementation to the plan; as the plan is only as good as the results that stem from its use.

Q. Martha Keller, the town’s longtime environmental steward, is stepping away from her council seat. How should the town continue to address environmental issues and why?

A. Environmental issues affect every aspect of the town. Every decision needs to be evaluated on how it will affect the environment. Martha has been instrumental in tackling one of the hurdles mentioned in the comp plan; which is intergovernmental and community organization. The committee that she has been leading includes members from surrounding towns, homeowner associations, environmental groups and many others. A healthy environment leads to healthy people. Our air, water and land need to be healthy in order for the inhabitants of this town to continue doing what they enjoy.

Q. What is the role of a council member in the town, which now, for the first time, has a town manager to oversee administrative activities?

A. The role will be to focus on the future of the town. It is nice to have a professional town manager, who is qualified to handle the administrative duties. Council members will have more time to work with surrounding towns and government agencies to provide focus on county and state issues that will impact the town. This also presents an opportunity for council to reevaluate its role for the future.

Q. What, do you believe, is the biggest issue facing Fenwick Island and how should it be dealt with?

The challenge will be to follow the mission statement from the comp plan: “to be a quiet, family-oriented and walkable community that protects its natural beach and bay environment while including a desirable and sustainable primary residential area as well as a mixed residential and commercial use area per zoning.”

Peter Frederick

Q. Why are you running for a seat on Fenwick’s town council?

A. I have a significant emotional and financial investment in Fenwick Island, The fourth generation of Fredericks are building drip-drop castles on the beach. Our home increased in value, in part, because Fenwick Island is a great place to live. I want to keep it that way. I have demonstrated the ability to listen to the recommendations of a majority of residents and get done what they recommended. I am proud of what we accomplished when I was previously on council and would like to continue my public service.

Q. What are your qualifications?

I have served on council for five years. One year as commissioner for Administration and four years as mayor, during which I was the de facto town manager. I am a retired senior Foreign Service officer, with experience managing both large and small government organizations. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, I was employed by E.I. DuPont, holding increasingly responsible positions in the finance, textile fibers and international departments. I served as assistant Secretary of Commerce in the second Reagan administration and vice president of the American Foreign Service Association.

Q. How much of an impact does development outside of Fenwick have on the town?

A. All new developments in Sussex County advertise they are “minutes from the beach,” which may be true in February but not July weekends. The developments along Route 54 will result in more visitors to our beaches and more cars crowding our streets looking for parking.

Q. What can the town do to have a say in such development?

Fenwick Island has, practically speaking, very little to say about the development decisions made outside our town boundaries. The town can ask to be notified of all zoning hearings and can organize groups of residents to appear as “residents of Sussex County” to appeal for reason in development decisions. The town also can work with DNREC and DelDOT to keep shuttle buses outside of town limits.

Q. What is your position on the town’s building height limit?

A. I have always been a firm supporter of the 30-foot height limit. We have hade quite a few very attractive homes built and remodeled over the past five years that are within the 30-foot limit. It may not be easy, but attractive homes can be built compliant with current ordinances.

Q. Residential development along Route 1 threatens the town’s commercial zone and commercial activity in town, which supports residents and visitors, some have said. Do you see that as a problem?

A. This question can be answered from two prospective. Emotionally, I would hate to see some of our businesses leave town. We need clothing stores, general stores, eateries, at least one paint store and mattress store and, of course, the Dairy Queen. Practically speaking, I think it would be a far greater problem for the town to tell a property owner they can no longer do with their property what they have been permitted to do for years.

A point often overlooked in this discussion is that a majority of the business owners in Fenwick Island are tenants and do not own their property. As such, their landlords have far more to do with their success than the town. A business owner in a strip mall may be hugely successful, however, if the investor who owns the property feels a wiser investment would be in residential development, there is nothing the town can do to help the business owner.

Q. What can the town do to reach out to business owners, many of whom feel hamstringed by restrictive parking and setback ordinances?

A. I believe that business owners who own their own buildings are more concerned about a change in setback ordinances than what you describe as “restrictive” setbacks. The seven to 10 owner-occupied stores are quite attractive. I’ve been told they do not want a change in setbacks as to do so would block the view of their properties to visitors driving through town. The parking ordinances are what they are. Every several years the ordinances are modified, however, it would be very difficult and costly to create more parking spaces in our town. A majority of the property owners in Fenwick Island accept the current parking ordinances. If a majority wanted to change the parking ordinances, I am sure the town council would respond.

Q. What is your opinion on the town comprehensive plan?

A. I have not seen the final document. The last draft I read was over 200 pages long and included quite a few inconsistencies. I am hopeful that the final document will be condensed (otherwise no upper-level decision makers will read it) and sections edited to be consistent. I still believe the town paid too much; however, the majority of council is comfortable with the decision. There have been several real benefits derived from the comprehensive plan process. The working groups and planning commission include quite a few residents that are newly involved in town government. Expanding the group of residents participating in town affairs is very good. The comprehensive plan meets and, in most cases, exceeds the requirements of the state, which should improve the town’s chances of getting grant money.

Q. What is the most important aspect of any such plan?

A. Judicious implementation. For example, the comprehensive plan refers to “incentives” more than 10 times. For a small town, incentives could mean tax forgiveness, code relief or financial assistance. We must be very careful not to commit town resources to individuals or companies in order to convince them to do something that may not be good for their business or economically viable in the long run. What changes to the ordinances are made as part of the comprehensive plan process must be done with extensive public discussion and input, following the procedures we have previously used to modify ordinances.

Q. Martha Keller, the town’s longtime environmental steward, is stepping away from her council seat. How should the town continue to address environmental issues and why?

A. One of Martha’s many skills is the recruitment of talented people who share her interests. I am confident several of her committee will step up and provide guidance and direction to the council. I am sure the council will continue to support he various environmentally focused initiatives currently in the works.

Q. What is the role of a council member in the town, which now, for the first time, has a town manager to oversee administrative activities?

A. Members of town council can now devote their time and attention to the bigger picture. Council members should server as advisors and consultants who collectively provide direction to the town manger. The town council must continue its oversight responsibilities to assure that all financial activities are properly managed and all town decisions are inline with state and federal regulations. No one is happier to have a town manager in Fenwick Island than I am. I am and will be his biggest supporter.

Q. What, do you believe, is the biggest issue facing Fenwick Island and how should it be dealt with?

A. The biggest issue facing Fenwick Island is change. The vast majority of the residents and property owners want to keep our town as it is. However, we all recognize that small towns must change as those around us and our national environment changes. We must manage change so that the Fenwick Island of tomorrow is not too different from the town each of us first visited whether it was five or 50 years ago. We must judiciously implement certain parts of the comprehensive plan and carefully enforce the ordinances that are in place. The comprehensive plan was developed to meet the requirements of the State of Delaware; however it must be implemented to meet the wishes of all property owners of Fenwick Island. I suggest that with my years of government experience and long time association with Fenwick Island, I am well suited to manage the change we all recognize as inevitable.

Todd Smallwood

Q. Why are you running for a seat on Fenwick’s town council?

A. I am 39 years old and plan on being in Fenwick Island at least another 40 years. I would like to have a voice for the future of Fenwick Island. I believe everyone should serve at least one term on Council to see how hard everyone has to work as a team for the betterment of the Town.

Q. What are your qualifications?

A. I have never served on council but I have worked on several committees in town. I am on the Environmental and the Charter and Ordinance Committees. I also took part in the Tree Triage and Operation Fish Tank programs, as well as served on the search committee to hire our first town manager.

Q. How much of an impact does development outside of Fenwick have on the town?

A. Development outside the town has a huge impact on the Town of Fenwick because of the overwhelming amount of people looking for limited parking and beach space. We need to ensure that our town does not turn into a shuttle bus depot that will put further strain on our resources.

Q. What can the town do to have a say in such development?

A. The town will not be able to have much of a say in the development of the inland communities but can voice our concerns on other issues. We need to make sure that we pay attention to any new developments on the Little Assawoman Bay that will increase boat traffic and put further strain on that ecosystem. The past several years have brought small marina proposals for our area and we need to keep a vigilant watch on those as well.

Q. What is your position on the town’s building height limit?

A. I am satisfied with our current height restrictions and see no need to alter them.

Q. Residential development along Route 1 threatens the town’s commercial zone and commercial activity in town, which supports residents and visitors, some have said. Do you see that as a problem?

A. It is a problem because Fenwick Island needs the commercial district to remain a vibrant community. It will continue to be a problem as real estate values continue to rise in our town. The amount of new homes that are scheduled to be built inland over the next several years is staggering because the infrastructure is not there to support it. People will continue to pay a premium to be able to walk to the beach, as opposed to being stuck in traffic on Routes 54 and 26. This will continue to put pressure on commercial zone owners to sell to developers who will pay a premium to build more residential homes.

Q. What can the town do to reach out to business owners, many of whom feel hamstringed by restrictive parking and setback ordinances?

A. Parking is a tough nut to crack because we only have so many parking spaces in town. We do not have the ability to create a great deal more because we simply do not have the space. If we tweak our parking ordinances and setbacks, we will only gain a very minute number of spaces. The comprehensive plan calls for a shared parking concept that is already in place in a couple of areas and that concept is what needs to be expanded. We also need to get more people on foot and on bicycles and get less cars on the road, and that will help as well.

Q. What is your opinion on the town comprehensive plan?

A. I believe that the comprehensive plan will be a great success thanks to the tireless work of the Planning Commission and Bluegreen. This is a much needed roadmap that will help guide Fenwick Island in the future.

Q. What is the most important aspect of any such plan?

A. I believe the most important part of our plan is to transform Fenwick Island into a walkable community and continue to be a “Quiet Resort.” Implementing the plan and following through to completion is the most crucial part of any long range plan.

Q. Martha Keller, the town’s longtime environmental steward, is stepping away from her council seat. How should the town continue to address environmental issues and why?

A. Martha was a valuable member on the council and I was sad to see her go. We need to continue her vision on cleaning up the water in the bay/lagoons and to make sure the Tree Triage program is a success. I value her opinions on the environment and she was the reason that I got involved with Operation Fish Tank and the Environmental Committee. We need to protect and sustain our natural resources because they are so vital to our town. I hope this is only a short break for her and that she will return in the future.

Q. What is the role of a council member in the town, which now, for the first time, has a town manager to oversee administrative activities?

A. Council members no longer have to micro-manage the town’s daily operations because Tony Carson is doing an awesome job as our town manager. I believe the council can now focus their energy on the big issues such as getting the comprehensive plan in place and clearing up our town ordinances.

Q. What, do you believe, is the biggest issue facing Fenwick Island and how should it be dealt with?

A. I believe the biggest issue facing Fenwick is surrounding area growth that will continue to put a strain on our town's resources. I believe every homeowner needs to work hand-in-hand with the council to make sure that we will continue to have a “Quiet Resort.”