On Friday, Sept. 23, at 2:30 p.m., the Fenwick Island Town Council will hold a public hearing in the town hall to receive testimony on a proposed amendment to the town code, Chapter 160 — Zoning, Paragraph 6-b, regulations for docks and boat lifts in canals.
The changes would allow boat lifts and docks on a number of the town’s moderate-width canals – six additional canals for the docks, 10 for the lifts. Comment on the issue was mixed at previous discussions with public input, suggesting a formal survey be taken.
According to Council Member Harry Haon, when the town conducted the survey, the response rate from property owners directly affected “was quite high (about two out of three) and almost double the turnout at a typical election.” The response rate among the affected property owners was also triple that of those whose properties were not directly affected.
Of the 107 responses from owners on the affected canals, 80 percent were against allowing boat lifts and 65 percent against allowing docks, according to Haon. About one third of the responses included reasons for their position, he said, with the major reason given against boat lifts being appearance.
On the issue of boat lifts being allowed in the town’s 10 canals less than 50 feet wide, 57 property owners responding to the survey were in favor, with 160 opposing the idea. Among those living on the affected canals, 22 of the respondents were in favor of the change, with 85 opposed.
On the question of allowing docks in the town’s six canals between 50 and 60 feet in width, 84 respondents were opposed, with 110 in favor of the idea. Among only those living on the affected canals, 21 were in favor, with 40 against it.
The council may choose to drop the matter entirely, given the results, or may decide in favor of a compromise solution. The Sept. 23 hearing will allow additional comment from those owning property or residing in Fenwick Island.
The hearing will be preceded, at 2 p.m., by another hearing regarding changes to the town code referencing hotels, motels and apartments. All of the measures are scheduled for a second reading and possible vote at the council’s 3:30 p.m. regular monthly meeting that afternoon. Full copies of the changes are available at the town hall.