Selbyville council approves zoning change

The Selbyville Town Council met on Monday, July 7, for their regular monthly meeting, and during the meeting the council approved three requests for zoning change from the R3 residential zone to the new R4 zone.

“This just takes the minimum from 20,000 square feet down to 12,000 square feet,” explained Councilman Jay Murray. “It doesn’t affect the overall density. It just allows the developer flexibility in the size of the lots.”

They also approved a motion to set a public hearing on annexing 39.47 acres off Route 54 and Polly Branch at their next meeting.

Resident Jeff Edwards took advantage of the open period for citizen comment on Monday and asked the council about its permitting process for agricultural wells — citing that there actually is none established for Selbyville.

He said that, while the state could approve his application for an agricultural well, the town is holding it up.

“I’ve called DNREC, and they are happy to approve it,” Edwards said. “But the town has held up the permit, and that is why I’m here.”

Mayor Clifton Murray said that, in years past, people would have to pay for a separate water meter, and he noted that if the town did allow agricultural well permits, they would need to do it cautiously.

“The water is high in iron. And it would be the homeowner’s responsibility to take care of that problem should the sidewalks become brown. And it will stain the house, and rust is almost impossible to get out,” he argued.

Edwards pointed out that the chlorinated town water already goes into the environment. He said he just wants nice shrubs and green grass.

“I can’t run it as is if I wanted to have an organic garden, because of the chlorination,” he said.

Mayor Murray reiterated that it was a subject that would have to be reviewed by the council.

“Whether it’s good or bad, I don’t know. We don’t have the answer,” he said. “As far as you watering your garden — it wouldn’t bother me, but if you turned the sidewalks in your development yellow, I’m not sure your neighbors would be happy.

“If we allowed it,” the mayor said, “it would have to be in the best interest of the town. There is good and bad on both sides. And I’m not sure we’d be looking out for the town if we just said, ‘Yup — just do it.’”

The council admitted that they needed a process for permitting and agreed that it is a subject that needs to be studied further. Councilman Clarence “Bud” Tingle Jr. noted that, for filtration, his only problem would be that “out of 10 people that do it, nine would do it right, but one would do it wrong.”

Edwards asked, “So, are we saying it should be allowed — we just need the rules and regulations in place?” To which Tingle answered, “We’re getting there.”

A representative from the Architectural Committee in the Bunting’s Mill community, where Edwards lives, questioned why Edwards was even going through the process, since their homeowner’s association rules do not allow private wells.

Edwards said he had been talking with the president of the homeowner’s association about the issue and needed to get a permit to submit before he could go through the homeowner’s association’s own processes.

“You don’t submit a permit,” the committee representative said. “You submit a plan. What’s the sense of going through this process?” if it is not allowed by the homeowner’s association, questioned the representative.

Also, during the public participation portion of the meeting, the council also heard from Louise Long of Hoosier Street and her daughter about a dirt bike/ATV track near her house that they complained is a noise and dust nuisance.

Long also mentioned safety concerns about the shooting of guns, and bows and arrows, as well as a construction Dumpster that has been outside near her house for the past three years. She said she wanted the council to address code issues regarding her complaints.

A fellow Hoosier Street neighbor who was the subject of some of the complaints said they had always been considerate of Long and did not know a problem existed until an officer came to their door.

The council discussed both sides, saying they understood children were the ones riding the dirtbikes/ATVs but that some kind of consensus could be made among council.

Mayor Murray noted that it was mostly a civil issue, but he said the council would look at what they could to deal with the problem on a larger scale.

“You two are talking about your individual situation. We have to look at it as a town,” he said.

Other neighbors pointed out that ATVs are used for hauling and asked the town to consider that should they be thinking of a blanket policy — and the council agreed.

“We can’t say, ‘no ATVs in town’ for maintenance, etc.,” said Councilman Jay Murray. “But you don’t want ATV tracks in residential neighborhoods. I don’t think we need to deny people of their property rights, but it can get excessive. There has to be a resolution somewhere.”

Residents asked specifically about current laws regarding ATVs and Selbyville Police Chief W. Scott Collins pointed out that Delaware law does not regulate ATVs on private property. He also noted that, while the town does have gun regulations, there are none for bow and arrows. The council said they would look at any zoning and code enforcement issues that arose.

“Nobody likes to be told what they can do with their property, and nobody likes to be trapped in their own house either,” said Mayor Murray. “It’s not fun, but we’ll get through it.”

Collins reported to the council on Monday that every police car in the town is now equipped with an automated external defibrillator (AED). He also said they were looking to replace the town’s speed trailer, which had been destroyed by a drunk driver for a second time.

Councilman G. Frank Smith III asked about smaller speed signs that can be equipped to a stop sign or speed limit sign, but Collins reported that they often are more expensive and are frequently vandalized and/or stolen.

Town Administrator Bob Dickerson requested on Monday that the town hire Richard E. Berl of Smith, O’Donnell, Feinberg and Berl in Georgetown to represent the town legally regarding the lack of completed infrastructure in the Victoria Forest community.

“The sidewalks, roads and stormwater management doesn’t look like it’s going to get done. We want to pursue this matter to make sure it gets done. And there is a conflict of interest with our regular attorney,” said Dickerson. He also reported that they had mailed out the town’s annual water reports to consumers, as required by the EPA.

Tingle reported that the 2008 Old Timer’s Day held last month was a success, “a great day and turnout.”

“We had 23 vendors and 12 food vendors and 18 sponsors,” he said. The event also saw 203 antique, vintage and classic cars, trucks and tractors.

Mayor Murray agreed it was a success.

“It’s the best one we’ve had. We’d like to thank [Selbyville town secretary-treasurer] Debbie [McCabe] and Bob [Dickerson] and the town employees for putting it together.”

“They had talents we didn’t know they had!” added Tingle.

Finally, Smith thanked the town for flowers received after his brother’s recent death.

The next regular council meeting will be held Monday, Aug. 4.