Green energy supply growing in Fenwick

Since the adoption of a renewable-energy ordinance in Fenwick Island, there have been three permits issued for solar energy systems – one commercial and two residential – and there are two more permits for such systems pending, according to building official Pat Schuchman. One is a geothermal heat and photovoltaic energy system (with 18 solar panels and two water collectors) at Councilwoman Vicki Carmean’s house.

“We have passed the electrical inspection,” noted Carmean at a meeting of the town council on Dec. 11. “If anyone wants to come and watch a meter go backward, you are welcome to come to my house!”

In other environmental news, Carmean noted at the meeting that Fenwick Island residents Martha Keller and Harry Haon had been recognized by the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays at their 2009 Thanks for Giving event.

Town Manager Win Abbott reported that he was in the application stages of pursuing a Delaware Economic Development Office grant in order to grow business and jobs in the area.

One project might be the construction of a pedestrian sidewalk, in either concrete or boardwalk style, throughout the town. A second grant might provide for an opportunity to build another park, but he emphasized that he is only in the application process for grants.

Councilman Bill Weistling Jr. offered that the town might want to look at pervious concrete or other alternatives if they went with the concrete route for the pathway. Resident Buzz Henifin cautioned that the boardwalk-style boards have a tendency to expand with time.

The council on Dec. 11 also unanimously passed a second reading to a boating ordinance.

In the public participation part of the meeting, resident Vicki Rymer asked if there couldn’t be a more transparent system for letting residents know of crime activity, since there had been many rumors concerning recent break-ins. She discussed possibly publishing such information in the town newsletter.

“The police report just said there were criminal arrests,” she said. “The Washington Post runs all assaults, motor vehicle accidents, sexual assaults, thefts and indecent exposures. Why can’t the property owners be notified of breaking-and-enterings?”

Mayor Audrey Serio concurred that a better notification system is something to strive for but cautioned that it has to be done correctly.

“You have to be careful what is published does not hurt an investigation they are doing. It has to be structured. It has got to be done and said in a particular way,” she said.

Town officials did confirm that there had been a total of five houses broken into in recent crime activity and that three suspects were in custody for other crimes.

“We can’t do a press release until they are arrested,” said Sgt Devlin, to which Rymer asked why the town could not give least minimal information, to maintain awareness. “There were five break-ins – period.” She suggested.

“These suspects are no longer a threat,” said FIPD Sgt. John Devlin. “Instead of rumors, contact myself, the sergeant or the chief. We need to be partners in public safety.”

The mayor offered that they will look into the best way to notify residents while being cautious about open investigations.

Carmean also asked about the town’s dune crossovers, because currently people have to go to the state beach or down to 142nd Street to get beach access, due to the damage to the dune from the Veteran’s Day storm. Abbott said he would take it up with public works and his contacts at DNREC.

“It has to be before Jan. 1,” noted Councilwoman Diane Tingle, referring to beach access for the Fenwick Freeze, held each year on New Year’s Day.