Fenwick approves limited fees for solar installations


At their monthly meeting on Friday, Feb. 27, the Fenwick Island Town Council voted to consider a resolution to modify the building permit fees for the installation of solar panels.

Coastal Point • File Photo: The Fenwick Island Town Council voted to consider a resolution to modify the building permit fees for the installation of solar panels, similar to these. The current fee is 3 percent of the cost of construction or $100, whichever is less. The new fee woulCoastal Point • File Photo
The Fenwick Island Town Council voted to consider a resolution to modify the building permit fees for the installation of solar panels, similar to these. The current fee is 3 percent of the cost of construction or $100, whichever is less.

“About 90 percent of these devices can be installed within the current ordinances,” said Councilman and Charter and Ordinance Committee Chairman Bill Weistling Jr.

The resolution states that for solar panels and other solar energy devices, such as solar shingles, solar laminate for metal roofs or solar water heaters, the fee will be 2 percent of the cost of construction, or $100, whichever is less. The typical current building permit fee is 3 percent of construction costs.

The council considered not having any fee for solar installations, to further encourage the use of the devices, but they ultimately decided that, because of administrative costs associated with permits, they would keep it at the 2 percent or $100.

Interim Town Manager Tom Wonterek reported on Feb. 27 that recycling was down in January a bit from December, to 7,000 pounds. He also mentioned that, after August, DSWA’s price for the curbside recycling service, as charged to the town, would change from $1 per household per month to $3 or more.

“It might be worthwhile to re-bid it to our current trash hauler,” he said. “Rehoboth Beach modified what they did,” he added of the spreading impact of DSWA’s changes to fees for municipal curbside recycling as the value of recyclable materials has raised the cost of the service. He said that change resulted in a significant cost savings for their town compared to the existing service.

Council also approved a proposed first reading and decided to delete Chapter 5—Alderman, in its entirety. They had talked about leaving it in at last month’s meeting but decided they would delete it in its entirety and draft a new Chapter 5, should they ever decide to re-instate the town’s Alderman’s Court.

Winnie Lewis, chairwoman of the town’s Planning Commission, reported that the Cultural and Historic Preservation Sub-committee met and have a tentative schedule for their new event: Old Fenwick Island Days, from Saturday, Aug. 1 to Saturday, Aug. 8.

The Fenwick Island Lighthouse will be open, with no admission charge, on Aug. 1 and Aug. 7, to coordinate with National Lighthouse Day, and other events are planned for the week as well. Their next meeting will be Tuesday, March 10, at 1 p.m., to identify groups willing to partner with the sub-committee, and they are working on a rough budget for Planning Commission approval.

The town also decided to have Mayor Audrey Serio sign an Arbor Day proclamation and approved a “memorandum of understanding” between Sussex County and the town, for land planning coordination regarding unincorporated areas. The memorandum is currently being circulated to a number of area towns.

The next council meeting is set for Friday, March 27, at 3:30 p.m.