Fenwick considers more handicapped parking

Handicapped parking is minimal near the Fenwick Island’s Town beaches. So on Oct. 28, Town Councilmember Gardner Bunting proposed that they add one handicapped-accessible spot on each street end.

Police Chief Bill Boyden said the town has had several threats from lawyers because of the limited parking, despite this being a federally-funded beach.

The council also noted the increase of beach wheelchairs and the motorized side-by-side vehicle, which help people access the beach.

Charter & Ordinance Committee will research the idea. They’ll also consider whether to require handicapped vehicles to still get a parking permit (some towns do, and others don’t).

In the flood plain? More permits required

Building Official Pat Schuchman reminded the public that any maintenance done in the flood plain is required to have a building permit.

Typically, when doing home maintenance, people only buy building permits if their project exceeds $1,000 in value.

However, any home in the floodplain must apply for a permit, even for low-cost projects. Fortunately, the permit is free.

This applies to “Any [project] that would require a permit if it was over $1,000,” Schuchman said. “So if you’re replacing something in your bathroom or kitchen … we have to issue a permit.”

For example, she said renovations, but not painting, would require a permit.

“This is not just a Fenwick Island requirement,” she said. “This is a FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] requirement.”

In other Fenwick Island Town Council news:

• Town Council tabled the discussion of voter qualifications, since the town solicitor has not reviewed the new language.

• Committees were announced for the 2016 to 2017 year, including the chairpersons for each committee: Audit (Gardner Bunting), Beach (Rebecca McWilliams), Budget (G. Bunting), ad hoc Financial (R. Mais), Building (no chair) Business Development (Tim Collins), Charter and Ordinance (Bill Weistling), ad hoc Election (Julie Lee), Emergency Management & Infrastructure (G. Bunting), Environmental (Mary Ellen Langan), Technology (Gene Langan), Board of Adjustment (no chair), Board of Elections (Audrey Serio, inspector) and Planning Commission (Winnie Lewis).

• Businesses might want to take a closer look at the fences surrounding their property.

The first reading was unanimously approved on changes to Chapter 160 (Zoning). In commercial zones, businesses would be required to erect a rear fence between their property and residential properties. If a fence exists, it may stay, but if the residential owner wants to remove their fence, the commercial owner must erect a new fence. This would only apply to new construction or substantial improvements.

• Bathrooms are on the rise. Council unanimously approved (Gene Langan absent) the first reading to a change of Chapter 160 (Zoning). Instead of the four bathroom maximum, houses would be permitted a total of six bathrooms, which must include at least on half-bathroom (with no bathtub or shower).

The Town Code has other measurements to control the size of houses, like Floor Area Ratio (FAR), said C&O Chairperson Bill Weistling.

• The Turkey Trot returns on Nov. 24 at 8 a.m. for an untimed 2.2-mile walk and run on Lewes Street. All are welcome, including leashed pets. Festive costumes are encouraged. Participation is free, but donations are encouraged to an American Cancer Society fundraiser. Parking will be allowed at Warren’s Station, the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce and the Pottery Place, which is serving coffee, hot chocolate and oatmeal afterward. Commemorative T-shirts will be $20.

• The Fenwick Island Community Holiday Event was approved for Dec. 2, with Christmas caroling, lights at the park, tree lighting, potluck hors d’oeuvres and donations to the local food pantry.

• The annual audit is ongoing and will likely be ready in December. Treasurer Gardner Bunting noted that there was an issue with Realty Transfer Tax fund, which can only receive money from certain transfers.

So when the Town was reimbursed for projects that were originally paid with RTT money, the repayment could only go in to the general fund, which looks artificially inflated.

“The bills we not paid from where they should have been paid,” Bunting said. “Part of this was due to authorization that was signed, but it should not have come from that account … We’re correcting that.”

• The Town Manager search continues. The first batch of interviews was completed, and there were about 40 applicants total.

• A new police car (and baby) has arrived to Fenwick Island Police Department, Chief Bill Boyden reported.

• Julie Lee thanked Town staff for attending her first two Town Talks. The next meeting will be on a Saturday to discuss streets, drainage and more. “I’m enjoying having the opportunity to meet with the community,” she said.

• The first reading was approved for changes to Chapter 120 (Property Maintenance), which would require Building Official approval on any changes to the approved drainage plan during construction or after issuance of a Certificate of Compliance.

• Branding of the town has died in the water. The Business Development Committee has tabled the issue until anyone raises the topic again.

“We didn’t feel it was the time to do it. And we will find out about any other strings that may be attached,” Bunting said.

With a member of the business committee (Tim Collins) now leading the committee, Gardner hopes more business owners will become more active.