South Bethany News
Town of South Bethany, Delaware
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The South Bethany Town Council will see some new faces after the May 23 election. Six residents are currently competing for three seats, but councilmembers Tony Caputo, Jim Gross and Al Rae did not file for reelection. The positions carry a two-year term.
Pending their eligibility reviews on April 17, candidates include Elizabeth Baker, Don Boteler, Joel Danshes, Wayne Schrader, Carol Stevenson and Frank Weisgerber. (William Bombright withdrew shortly after filing.)
Absentee ballots are available for any resident unable to vote at Town Hall on May 23. To request an absentee ballot, residents should contact Town Hall for an affidavit. After that is returned, a ballot will be mailed. They can also visit Town Hall in person to complete both forms during regular operating hours. Absentee ballots must be filed with the Town no later than 3 p.m. on election day.
Mid-Atlantic survey first step in oil/gas drilling
Two Texas companies have requested permission to perform surveys off the Delaware coast for potential oil and gas reserves. GX Technology Corporation and Spectrum Geo Inc. applied for permits to do deep-penetration seismic surveys on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf.
Just weeks before new flood maps were to be enacted in South Bethany, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has agreed to wind back the clock. FEMA has rescinded the “final determination” that previously raised the base flood elevation (BFE) for oceanfront homes in the town, at the Town’s urging and under pressure from Delaware’s Congressional delegation.
BFE is the elevation to which floodwaters are expected to rise during a 100-year flood. For years, Ocean Drive had a BFE of 12 feet. Houses had to be built starting no lower than that elevation or pay high flood-insurance premiums.
FEMA considered lowering several South Bethany zones (most notably Ocean Drive to VE-10) during a large-scale rewrite of Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) in August of 2013. However, a councilmember’s “inquiry” about the lightened restrictions caused FEMA to actually up the BFE, to 13 feet instead of 10.
South Bethany may have a budget shortfall of about $1,500 in its proposed 2016-fiscal-year budget, “but we know where to find it,” said Town Council Treasurer Tim Saxton.
On Feb. 26, he presented to the council a “fully loaded” draft budget, which included savings, new expenses and a 4.1 percent pay increase for employees.
The love of your life has just kneeled on one knee and asked for your hand in marriage… But now what?
Many dream of having a beach wedding, where the vastness of the sea mirrors their love for one and other, but the logistics of planning can be difficult.
Enter Delaware Seaside Bride. With a website — DelawareSeasideBride.com — and yearly print magazine that will launch March 6, 2015, Delaware Seaside Bride will be your guide to planning your dream day, surrounded by the beauty of the Delaware beaches.
Town council elections are approaching in South Bethany, so candidate and voter registration has begun. Three positions are up for voting in the 2015 election, scheduled for May 23. Terms are for two years. Those council seats are currently held by Tony Caputo, Jim Gross and Al Rae.
South Bethany has tugged at its Congressional connections in an effort to induce FEMA to reconsider the proposed Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) — or rather, to disregard South Bethany’s previous communication on the matter.
The Harris Teeter grocery store company announced on Tuesday that it would be closing its Salt Pond location near Bethany Beach in two weeks. The store is the area’s newest Harris Teeter store, open at Salt Pond Plaza since March 31, 2010, on the heels of its first local store opening in West Fenwick.
By adding a new police officer position, South Bethany could get the true 24-hour police coverage many believe they already have. Residents broke into applause Monday afternoon after the town council narrowly voted to create a new full-time police position.
South Bethany is expecting an additional $100,000 in revenue above its current budget, thanks to an increase in transfer taxes. That will more than cover some unexpected expenses in the 2015-fiscal-year budget, for the period ending April 30, 2015.
South Bethany has already surpassed its original transfer tax estimate of $250,000.
One of the most fearful moments of Kathy Jankowski’s life was discovering that someone had broken into her home.
In a letter to the South Bethany Town Council, the former mayor described how quickly Cpl. Mark Burton had responded to her house, done his job and calmed her down. She called him a “knight in shining armor [who] made me feel safe enough to stay in my house that night.”
Between overwhelming evidence and Burton’s diligence, officials said, the South Bethany Police Department solved the burglary case and recovered the stolen items. In honor of the job well done, Burton received a Certificate of Commendation at the December town council meeting.
Burton had visited four pawnshops, searching the inventory data for hours, “and I do mean hours,” said Police Chief Troy Crowson. That’s before the Internet searches began, including on eBay and Craigslist.
They found the stolen goods and identified the sellers, and a suspect was apprehended less than 24 hours after the warrant was issued. He’d been to the house legally before, with someone who had been contracted to do work. He was not a contractor himself, officials said. His arrest also led police to two more accomplices.
Ed Bintz was excited to save money on flood insurance when FEMA planned to lower the base-flood elevation (BFE) of his South Bethany house from 12 to 10 feet. But that was short-lived, after a letter from a member of the town council prompted FEMA officials to reevaluate the land — and raise the BFE to 13 feet.
The will of the people has been heard. The South Bethany Town Council voted unanimously Nov. 20 to remove, at this time, the proposed mandatory 2 feet of freeboard from its draft floodplain ordinance.
The South Bethany Town Council will be continuing its discussion of requiring 2 feet of mandatory freeboard following a change in some council members’ minds after their Oct. 23 workshop.
Barely three months after South Bethany gave people the option to build taller homes with flood-resistant freeboard, Town Council is considering mandatory freeboard.
Not all councilmembers are happy about it.
In a conversation echoing that heard in other town councils across Delaware, South Bethany is beginning to think about federal flood requirements.
The Underground Railroad was an integral part of the Civil War, and next Tuesday, Clara Small will discuss its legends and facts at an event hosted by the South Bethany Historical Society. The talk will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 21, from 7 to 9 p.m. at South Bethany Town Hall.
South Bethany’s newest police chief is homegrown, with 26 years of experience in the South Bethany Police Department. Town officials said Troy Crowson stood out from among the 85 nationwide applicants, including candidates from Arkansas, Ohio and Colorado.
“He started here. He aspired to this. We’re really thrilled that it’s working out for him,” said Mayor Pat Voveris at his swearing-in celebration on Oct. 10.
“He’s just someone who goes over and above,” having won multiple officer awards, she added.
A screening committee ranked the initial applications, and South Bethany’s police chief search committee considered the top four candidates.
“Troy stood neck-and-neck” with the others, eventually winning for his qualifications and familiarity, said Voveris. “It’s nice to know you have that talent in our back yard.”
Ever since Phil Iacangelo began gardening along the canal of his South Bethany home, he’s noticed a greater sense of community on York Road.
Watering the daisies, daylilies, coxcomb and crape myrtle early in the morning, Iacangelo is often greeted by joggers, cyclists and pedestrians.
His public garden not only starts conversations, but this year it won the Adopt-A-Canal 4th annual decorating contest.
Sponsored by the Community Enhancement Committee (CEC), the Adopt-A-Canal program lets residents take ownership and beautify their neighborhood.
“I think Phil adopted it about 40 years ago when we first moved here. He loves it,” said his wife, Cicily.
If ever I am lost and find myself in Heaven,
Let it spell Bethany
In an unusually busy primary election day for Delawareans, voters on Sept. 9 will decide which candidates will represent their parties in more than a half-dozen races in November, including candidates for U.S. senator, State Treasurer, Delaware Auditor of Accounts, Sussex County Register of Wills, Sussex County Council District 5 and Sussex County Sheriff.
Residents and visitors to South Bethany no longer have to travel to neighboring communities to enjoy the offerings of a library. Last week, the town’s Free Little Library was installed on Evergreen Road, near town hall, welcoming community members to enjoy free books at their leisure.
“This idea was brought to the Community Enhancement Committee by one of our members, Lori Cicero,” said Councilwoman Sue Callaway, who chairs the committee.
Cicero said she had seen similar little libraries over the last few years, and thought the concept would work well for the town.
“I walk my dog at Northside Park and saw it again last year. I thought, you know, this would be a nice thing for the community.”
The concept is, provide a box somewhere in a community, where books may be taken or shared free of charge.
“It’s supposed to be take a book or leave a book… or not. But they’re there to take,” she said. “It’s like a service to the community.”
Cicero brought the idea to the Community Enhancement Committee (CEC), where it was embraced, and fellow committee member Pat Weisgerber volunteered her husband’s woodworking skills for the job.
For 50 years, the Cape May-Lewes Ferry has been helping travelers cut miles off of a trip along the Atlantic coast. And, on Thursday, Sept. 11, from 7 to 9 p.m., the South Bethany Historical Society (SBHS) will host a free history talk on the ferry’s half-century of service at the South Coastal Library in Bethany Beach.
Those who have walked the streets of South Bethany lately have been able to enjoy some unique art on Ocean and Seaside drives — in the form of art boards.
“We started the whole idea last year, but this is the first summer we’ve had them hanging,” said South Bethany Councilwoman and Community Enhancement Committee (CEC) Chair Sue Callaway.
The art boards are original works created by local artists that have been printed on a sustainable board that then is adhered to trash-can enclosures on the two streets.
“We have three now, and we have two potential other ones, and one in the works that’s being painted right now,” said Callaway. “These are original artworks that have been scanned, and we send it to a sign company that takes the scan and creates an image onto almost a street-sign kind of product, so it’s weather-resistant and can withstand the environment and anything else that might come along.”
Driving through South Bethany, motorists often notice the beautifully landscaped canal and road ends. The continued beautification of the areas has been carried out through the work of the town’s Community Enhancement Committee (CEC) and countless resident volunteers, with the creation of the Adopt-A-Canal/Road End Program.