Fenwick adopts policies on beach, animals

Fenwick Island Town Council members passed two ordinances on second readings at their October council meeting, held Oct. 23. The first of the ordinances concerns attacks by animals and the second concerns the town’s beaches.

Charter and Ordinance Committee Chair and council member Bill Weistling Jr. reminded the council last Friday that the C&O committee is working through the town code book, to see where any updates or changes can be made to simply all of the town’s ordinances.

The adopted ordinance amending town code Chapter 48, referring to animals, and specifically sections 48-8, 48-9 and 48-13, “Attacks By Pets or Other Animals” and “Violations and Penalties,” adds specific fines for violations.

In Chapter 52 of the code, referring to beaches – specifically 52-11, 52-13 and 52-15, “violations and penalties,” “exempt activities” and “closing of beach for repair” – some word changes were made, and council members added specific fines for violations.

The council on Oct .23 also held a first reading of an amendment to Chapter 56, Boating, where they were originally going to add a maximum speed allowed in any lagoon or canal. But, ultimately, they decided to retain the verbiage, “at a speed greater than steerage way or that creates a wake in any lagoon/canal” and to remove any reference to 3 or 6 miles per hour, as council members said they would have no way of enforcing or providing evidence of boaters conforming or violating such a low speed.

Councilman Gardner Bunting said his boat doesn’t even register a speed until it reaches a speed of 10 miles per hour, and one resident said he was concerned that if boats went too slow, the chances of them getting stuck were greater. He also said that water skis and other recreational devices were more of a problem than boat speed.

The council on Oct. 23 also recognized a resolution to proclaim April 30, 2010, as Arbor Day in the town. They must have such a resolution in place before the end of the year to be eligible for certain grants. They had considered an Urban Forest Management Resolution, too, but expressed concern that maybe it was redundant and were concerned that the resolution might give the impression that the Environmental Committee could act on behalf of the town.

“I don’t want to authorize any committee to act on behalf of the citizens,” said Mayor Audrey Serio, after Weistling had expressed similar concerns. “It needs to be re-thought out.”

Councilwoman Vicki Carmean, who brought up the resolutions, said, “It’s a little redundant, I agree, but it’s not dangerous. It won’t hurt, and it doesn’t cost anything.” She ultimately agreed to re-think the wording and re-approach the issue at a later date. She added that it is not as time sensitive as the Arbor Day proclamation, for grant consideration.

The council also voted last Friday to re-appoint Tim Collins and appoint Craig Lambertson to the Board of Adjustments. They join Phil Craig, whose term expires in 2010, Marsha Frederick (2011) and Elizabeth Lear (2011).

On the Planning Commission, they extended the terms of Winnie Lewis, Richard Maize, Todd Smallwood and Jack Smith. They join Phil Craig (whose term expires in 2010), Susan Klein (2010) and Lois Twilley (2010).

Weistling asked, and noted that he had asked before, if it were not a conflict of interest for one person – in this case, Phil Craig – to be on both the Board of Adjustments and the Planning Commission. It was a moot point since they were not voting on Craig for this term, but Serio said she had checked before with the town solicitor, and there wasn’t a problem. She nonetheless offered that they would check on it again for when his term does expire.

The Board of Elections has no new members, but the council approved the extensions of terms for Dick Bowman, Buzz Henifin and Mary Wright.

Also at the Oct. 23 meeting:

• The council and town manager thanked the Barefoot Gardeners for their $1,000 donation for town beautification projects. Town Manager Win Abbot also said the Public Works Department was hard at work digging a 100-foot-long ditch to make sure they had back-up generator power for the new emergency sign to be placed at town hall. He also reported that the town collected 10.01 tons of recyclables last month.

• Resident Mary Pat Kyle asked if the excavation would go through the park, and Abbott answered that “it may.”

“It depends on where they placement of the irrigation lines. But rest assured the grass will grow back,” he said.

“We will be watching,” Kyle advised.

• Abbott also reported that Fenwick’s 29-year-old wastewater treatment plant generator had been replaced with a new one, emphasizing that “in the worst of weather circumstances, things will continue to flow.”

• Police Chief William Boyden reported that, in the past, the department had had difficulty with emergency services communications but that the patrol officer and the chief will now get text messages in emergency situations, to further streamline their work with the Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Company – something he said did not happen a day too soon.

“The day it was implemented, within 30 minutes I got a message, and I beat the ambulance there,” he noted. Because of the quick response time of the ambulance service, he added, that is unusual, so the system worked out “beautifully.”

• Boyden also added that his offer stands to all residents who might be concerned about their security, that the police department can help them identify any problems and give advice on ways to improve any system they have.

“If anyone has any questions about their security, we’ll do a safety inspection and give tips and pointers. Give a call anytime and schedule a visit,” he said. Serio asked that, if anyone knew of anyone who lived alone or who might need a security check, they pass that information on.

• The 6th annual Fenwick Freeze will be held Jan. 1, 2010, at 10:30 a.m. at Bayard Street. Abbott will be the Master of Ceremonies.