Fenwick offering information with parking permits

Property owners in Fenwick Island can now pick up parking tags at Town Hall. The town had previously announced that no parking permits would be mailed this year and reminded citizens of that change at their April 25 regular town council meeting.

Inside their permit package will also be brochures about hurricane safety and flood insurance, as well as information on a charter change regarding voter qualifications. That change will take place for Fenwick voters this year if it is accepted by the Delaware General Assembly prior to the upcoming August 2008 election. Also included in the package will be information on voter registration, guidelines for which will be in effect for the August 2009 elections.

Finally, a Delaware Solid Waste Authority curbside recycling sign-up form and town recycling program information will also be provided in the packet.

Upon request from Councilman and Chairman of the Charter and Ordinance Committee Bill Weistling, town council unanimously voted April 25 to approve first readings of amendments to four sections under Chapter 61, Construction:

• Section 61-1. Permits required: will be amended to specify that no permits will be issued solely for pile, concrete or masonry foundations.

According to Weistling, the purpose of the amendment was to prevent someone from taking out a foundation-only type of permit and then not proceed with further construction.

“For example, if someone took out a permit just to drive pilings, and then not proceed at all with construction, and we’d be looking at what we are looking at up the street with pilings sticking up in the air,” explained Weistling.

“I think that one sentence is brilliant,” added Councilwoman Vicki Carmean.

• Section 61-2, Violations and Penalties, will be amended to include language stating, “Upon conviction of any single charge, which may encompass and include each day of violation up to and including the date of conviction, a violator shall be subject to a fine of $100 for each day the violation occurs.”

According to Weistling, the purpose of that change is to eliminate the minimum $25 fine for code violations and the existing $2,500 cap.

“The intent was to establish a fixed fine, and not to go into the $25 or more than $2,500, which is sort of discretionary,” explained Weistling.

• Section 61-4, Issuance of Permits, will include an additional Section G, which states that the town will require a certificate of compliance with all ordinances and regulations of the town from the building official before additional permits will get approved.

Weistling reported that the intent was to make a contractor finish one phase of work before picking up another permit, and to try to speed the construction process up and make sure work is completed.

• Section 61-7, Duration of Permit: The existing paragraph will be deleted and will be replaced in its entirety. The new section states that building permits will be issued now for 15 rather than 12 months. People who would need to renew their permits at the end of that 15-month period could do so for six months but would have to pay 100 percent of the original cost of the building permits. The change would eliminate the previous renewal fee of 20 percent of a project’s cost.

The revised section of code will also include in-depth information on renewal of permits; delay/time extension information; the effects of failure to comply with time limits for construction completion; and information on an appeals process.

According to Weistling, “The intent was to try and get a construction project completed in a timely fashion and also to allow us to take action on abandoned projects.” He also added that there is an appeal process for any one of the items for someone who believes they have a hardship.

In other news from last Friday’s council meeting:

• Moor Disposal was to begin trash service in the town on Thursday, May 1. Town Manager Tony Carson said Public Works staff will be working with the hauler to ensure a smooth transition from the prior hauler and to make sure they are comfortable with it and perform the service “as our residents expect it.”

Carson also noted that 15.98 tons of trash was hauled in March of 2008, which was down from 17.37 in March of 2007. “I feel certainly this is in relation to the recycling program,” said Carson.

• Dates for the Heavy Trash and Appliance Pick-up in the town have been set for June 9, 10 and 11, and Sept. 10, 11 and 12.

• The annual town bonfire event has been set for Saturday, July 5, from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. on the Dagsboro Street beach. Councilman Todd Smallwood noted that the organizing committee will be asking for a one-time permit to sell plastic bottles of water and Gatorade and will have recycling containers at the beach to promote curbside recycling. He also noted that the town’s next Beach Clean-up is set for May 17 at 9 a.m. on Dagsboro Street.

Finally, the council appointed the town’s property tax assessor for 2008.