South Bethany News
Town of South Bethany, Delaware
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Ed Bintz first raised the alarm about a drastic change in South Bethany’s flood insurance rate map (FIRM). Now he’s submitting a second and final appeal to encourage Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to lower the numbers again.
South Bethany council votes, 4-3, to appeal FEMA flood maps
South Bethany’s $10,000 appeal isn’t based on whether the sand dunes protect town. Instead, the appeal is based on whether the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) believes they protect it enough to lower flood insurance rates.
It’s time to bundle up, grab some hot chocolate and prepare those Christmas lists, and local towns will welcome the holiday season with the annual Christmas parades.
With five miles of canals, South Bethany has called itself the “Venice of Delaware.” But all canals don’t lead to Rome in this case, as the dead-end canals suffer from poor flushing and circulation.
That’s the challenge being addressed by the Canal Water Quality Committee, led by Town Councilman George Junkin.
South Bethany’s maps aren’t leading to where it was expected.
At public urging, the town council hired an environmental consulting firm to manage the potential appeal of flood insurance rate maps (FIRMs). The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) gave the Town until Jan. 20 to appeal maps that would place oceanfront homes in a higher flood zone than expected.
Republic Services will continue as the waste hauler for the Town of South Bethany. The company had the low bid for a five-year waste-hauling contract. The town council unanimously approved to pay the winning bid of $1,638,431 for services from May 1, 2016, to April 30, 2021.
At a recent South Bethany Town Council meeting, Sgt. Lee Davis repeatedly told residents to call the South Bethany Police Department if something seems suspicious.
“We’d rather go out 10 times” for a false alarm than miss something “because someone doesn’t want to bug us,” Davis said. “You guys are our eyes and ears.”
The South Bethany Police Department this week announced that Patrolman Nathan Hudson has been chosen as the recipient of the Crowe-McGrory Award.
Hudson was awarded the Crowe-McGrory on Thursday, Nov. 19, at the Delaware Chapter Law Enforcement Day luncheon, hosted by the American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS) Chapter 54 in Wilmington.
South Bethany planned to review the first round of scientific results this week as it decides whether to appeal its flood insurance rate map (FIRM).
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) gave the Town until Jan. 20 to appeal maps that have been unpopular since they were first publicized in 2014.
The Delaware State Police are continuing their investigation of a crash south of Bethany Beach over the weekend.
It’s appeal season in South Bethany, as the town council voted this week to pay around $23,000 to potentially appeal its new flood insurance rate map (FIRM).
South Bethany may be young for a local beach town, but residents still proudly study its heritage in the South Bethany Historical Society. Councilman George Junkin will give a talk on “History of the Society” at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 29.
Got a spare recycling bin? Motorboat? Military-grade vehicle?
Power interruptions may occur during cleaning process
Delmarva Power crews are resuming their efforts today to pressure-wash utility lines and equipment along Route 1 between the Indian River Inlet and an area just north of Bethany Beach to remove sea salt carried inland by winds from the weekend nor’easter.
What could happen to the sea in 50 years? No one can know for sure, but South Bethany residents got tips on planning for sea-level rise at a pair of workshops on Sept. 25 and 26.
Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) officials announced around 4:30 p.m. that, due to high water, Route 1 northbound and southbound was being closed between Bethany and Dewey Beach (including the Charles Cullen Bridge over the Indian River Inlet).
Coastal flood warnings in effect along Atlantic Coast and Delaware Bays
With moderate to major coastal flooding expected at high tides today and tomorrow, along with high wind warnings along the coast, Gov. Jack Markell at noon on Oct. 2 issued a Limited State of Emergency for Sussex County, effective immediately. State offices will remain open, and no driving restrictions are being implemented; however, localized road closures may occur as conditions warrant it.
After hiring an independent consultant to analyze its Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM), the Town of South Bethany is at a standstill.
For the fifth year in a row, the Town of South Bethany has recognized residents who have taken the time to help make their community a better place by adopting the town’s canal ends.
South Bethany Town Seal
It was a pioneering effort, but South Bethany’s canal diffuser experiment was a wash.
After a two-year study, air diffusers placed in the Petherton Drive canal have not significantly increased the dissolved oxygen in the nearly stagnant dead-ends of the canal.
“We did this as an experiment, because we thought it would increase dissolved oxygen,” said George Junkin, town council member and a champion of water quality in the town’s canals. “There was no significantly measureable increase in the canals.”
Using the neighboring Anchorage Drive and Brandywine Drive canals as a control, the Town tested regularly at three different depths in the shallow canals fed by the Little Assawoman Bay.
Police reported this week that alcohol was a factor in an incident that began as a missing-person case and ended with a severely injured police officer.
On Aug. 8, the South Bethany Police Department responded to a report of a missing person. When officers arrived on scene, it turned out to concern a 25-year-old white man who had left his friends to swim in the bay, said Cpl. Patrick Wiley, public information officer for the SBPD.
He was afloat at the southern tip of town, between the Plymouth canal and the Bayview Park community, Wiley said.
Gov. Jack Markell on Wednesday joined DNREC Secretary David Small, federal highway officials and community leaders and groups, to cut the ribbon officially opening the new Assawoman Canal Trail. The one-mile trail is part of a regional network of trails, sidewalks and pathways for pedestrians and bicyclists, physically linking communities that share a boundary with the trail.
“This trail is only possible because of the hard work and commitment of engaged community members who recognize that this is an opportunity to enhance the quality of life in Sussex County,” said Markell.
“It was residents in Ocean View, Bethany and South Bethany neighborhoods who saw the value of creating a trail along the Assawoman Canal and worked together with the State to turn their vision into a reality. They share our belief that investments in our trails and pathways support our overall health and wellbeing, while helping to grow our economy.”
In the works for seven years, the trail will directly connect the municipalities of Ocean View, Bethany Beach and South Bethany, and the communities of Sea Colony and Bahamas Beach Cottages.
A concept plan, developed with a team of local residents, was released in 2011, after public outreach. Project partners included Ocean View, Bethany Beach and South Bethany, residents in Bahamas Beach Cottages, Sea Colony, Salt Pond and Waterside, and DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation.
Imagine a medium-sized wooden box, standing outdoors on a pole, in all kinds of weather. Inside, two-dozen portals can whisk people away to new worlds, from the mysterious to the fantastic.
This box is the Little Free Library (LFL), and it just got a second location in South Bethany.
“It’s been up 10 days, and it’s very active,” said Sue Callaway, town council member and Community Enhancement Committee chair. “It went along with the whole idea of enhancing Ocean Drive.”
Dedicated on July 30, Little Free Library East is located on a major pedestrian route, at the corner of S. 3rd Street and Ocean Drive.
“Once we realized how successful the one in the west was, we began planning,” Callaway explained, noting that Frank Weisgerber, who is now a council member, had offered to build another one on the east side.
Adults and children are encouraged to borrow a book from the library, eventually returning it or another good read. It all works on the honor system — no library cards or signatures required.
Instructions for sharing books can be found at the LFL, as well as on bookmarks donated by the South Bethany Police Department.
Boatlifts seem to be popping up all around South Bethany. But there are no zoning regulations on these structures, from the size to the number a person can build.
At its July 23 workshop, the town council appointed an ad-hoc group to study boatlifts and floating docks. It will present research and recommendations, and the council can then decide whether to take future action.
Members of the ad-hoc group include Dick Oliver, Jack Whitney, Joe Conway (chairperson) and Dave Wilson.
Although the four men are all members of the Planning Commission, they said this is not a committee under that commission.
Meanwhile, discussions are just beginning for a potential town hall and police station expansion.
It took about 2.5 hours for the South Bethany Town Council to cover regular business at their meeting on July 10, when discussions ranged from zoning to law enforcement and touched more than briefly on the continuing controversy over FEMA flood plain designations.