Commercial lodging proposals go to referendum in Bethany

Ballots in the non-binding referendum on the possible creation of a commercial lodging zone in Bethany Beach and possible rezoning of the Bethany Arms property have been mailed to citizens by the Town of Bethany Beach, with the deadline to return them set for Aug. 12 and a potential vote by the town council on the issues coming as soon as their Aug. 16 council meeting.

The question on the referendum ballot asks citizens whether they feel it would be appropriate to create a CL-1 or CL Commercial Lodging zone for use in the town and to rezone to CL-1 or CL the Bethany Arms Motel property, part of which is zoned commercial and part of which is now zoned as residential, after changes to zoning ordinances decades ago eliminated the multi-family, medium-density residential zone in which it once resided.

Information on the proposed hotel project has been provided by the Town online at, with additional mailings having been sent out to citizens from developer Jack Burbage, who proposes to redevelop the property as a two-building, three-story oceanfront hotel with about 100 rooms, and from opponents of the residential parcels’ rezoning and/or the hotel project in general.

The Town’s Election Board will count the ballots on Tuesday, Aug. 13, starting at 10 a.m., with a public hearing scheduled for 4 p.m. on Aug. 13, to receive related public comment on related ordinances.

One of the ordinances would create a commercial lodging district in the town, expected to contain additional restrictions on development in that zone, over and above the existing commercial zone but specifically allowing commercial lodging as a use.

A second ordinance would rezone Lot #1 in Block 106, located at the corner of Atlantic Avenue and the north side of Hollywood Street (currently zoned C-1) and Lots #9, 10, 11, 12 in Block 110 (currently zoned R-1, Residential), located at the corner of Atlantic Avenue and the south side of Hollywood Street, from C-1 Commercial and R-1 Residential, respectively, to all CL-1 Commercial Lodging.

A third ordinance would amend a “Recommendation 1,” related to the town’s commercial district, in the Bethany Beach 2010 to 2020 Comprehensive Development Plan, affecting those same lots.

According to Mayor Tony McClenny, council members are expected to vote on the rezoning proposal during their meeting at 2 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 16.