OV P&Z approves canal trail land development plan

Last week, the Ocean View Planning & Zoning Commission unanimously approved design plans for the Assawoman Canal Trail, Phase I, which would establish a trailhead parking lot and canal trail.

The commission reviewed a land development plan submitted by Becker Morgan Group on behalf of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control’s Division of Parks & Recreation, related to the future trail.

The trail will run from Route 26 to the Ocean View marina, with 5,200 feet of trail. The trail itself is designed to be 8 feet wide, with 6 inches of stone dust topping that will be suitable for bicyclists, as well as walkers.

Jon Falkowski of Becker Morgan spoke on behalf of DNREC at the meeting, saying that bidding for Phase I of the project is to begin this fall, with construction starting in January 2015 and being completed by Memorial Day 2015.

“There will be one bridge crossing, right near the Town Road site. We plan to construct 60-foot pedestrian foot bridge to span that,” he said.

The bridge surface will be made of a fiberglass material, with marine-grade wood used for the decking.

“It’s all very minimal disturbance to install that,” he said. “DNREC has used this bridge in a few other projects… It’s nice-looking and holds up.”

At Town Road, there will be a 10-space parking lot, with restroom facility, bike racks and signage. Falkowski said there will also be a road crossing located at Central Avenue.

“We’re modifying some sidewalk there, putting some curb ramps in there, to make it all ADA-compliant.”

For the construction, DNREC has secured a temporary easement on an empty lot on Osprey Lane.

Falkowski also stated that motorized vehicles would not be permitted on the trail for the public; however, a gator-type vehicle may be used by police for emergency response on the trail.

He emphasized that the trail is meant to be a dusk-to-dawn facility, and they will not be installing lights in the Town Road parking lot. He added that they are working with a building manufacturer to have the doors to the bathrooms automatically lock.

“The trail itself isn’t lit either,” he said. “It is a true dusk-til-dawn facility.”

The commission unanimously approved the plan, with a 5-0 vote.

Bob Ehemann, community assistance and grant coordinator for the Division of Parks & Recreation, publically thanked town officials for their help through the process.

“I appreciate their efforts in making this happen,” he said.