Fenwick holds first public meeting on comp plan updates

Last weekend, the Town of Fenwick Island held a public meeting regarding an update to its comprehensive plan — an official document intended to guide future development of a community in order to create and maintain a desirable environment and to promote health, safety and welfare.

The Town is required by law to update its comprehensive plan every 10 years, and to review it every five years. For the update the Town is currently working on, the revisions need to be submitted to the State around August of 2017.

Kyle Gulbronson of AECOM has been working with the Town on the update and at Saturday’s workshop noted that the Town’s first comprehensive plan was created in 2007.

The mission statement of the Town, encapsulated within its 2007 comprehensive plan, states that Fenwick Island is “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.”

Gulbronson said a working group of 12 members started working on the plan update about five months ago. Revisions include updating Census data, deleting references to the Town being built-out by 2013, reviewing maps and pictures, and reviewing issues/goals/objectives for each section to ensure they reflect any new Town standards.

The Planning Commission is seeking public input for the update and asked those in attendance to comment.

Richard Benn asked if there would be any language added related to hotels. He also asked that the Town consider sending out a survey, as neighboring South Bethany does.

“We’re a very small community,” he said. “People are reluctant to express themselves in an open forum.”

Kevin Carouge asked the commission to consider creating a red-line version of the comprehensive plan revision once it’s further along.

He added that the impact of Route 54 should also be addressed in the comprehensive plan as well.

“I think that really needs to be identified in the comprehensive plan. Every month you drive out there, there’s a new development going up,” he said. “I think we need to take a step back and look and that… What, if anything, should we do? If this is a guiding document for the council to work from, to work toward, it should identify those … issues. And I think that’s a big one.”

Gulbronson said the Town could address it in the plan by addressing how it plans to mitigate growth around it.

Winnie Lewis, chair of the Planning Commission, thanked everyone who attended the meeting and encouraged residents to continue to participate and inform the Town as to what they hope to see in the plan.

“I’ve learned a lot today about what people like and what they need,” she said.

Information regarding the Town’s comprehensive plan update may be found on the Town’s website, at fenwickisland.delaware.gov.