This responds to your June 3 article attributing statements to Fenwick Town Council Member Bernie Merritt during the May council meeting.
You report that Mr. Merritt complained that he does not receive the newsletter from FISH (Fenwick Island Society of Homeowners), and that some “small coterie” of FISH members oppose the “shuttle” or “booze bus” service that has apparently been proposed for the town and have a platform to attack the town council.
I am the newsletter editor for FISH, and this is my response.
Mr. Merritt did not receive the newsletter because he was not a member of FISH. You have to pay your dues ($10 per year).
FISH has not taken any position on any proposal for a “conveyance,” “shuttle” or “booze bus.” In an email informing our members about a meeting date, I added a note that something was being discussed, I could not determine what was proposed, and that it would probably re-emerge at the Charter & Ordinance Committee.
No position. No coterie. No platform.
Many in Fenwick cherish the qualities of quiet and family atmosphere and have worked for decades to limit the scale of commercial development. This is why we don’t have high-rise buildings. Founded in the 1970s, FISH is a membership and civic organization that promotes these traits.
FISH reviews and analyzes proposals and actions by federal, state, county and local entities to assess potential impacts, positive or negative. We do our best to inform our members about actions that may affect them and point them toward resources so they can form their own opinions. FISH does analyze actions by the Town, and I can understand that they do not like the scrutiny.
FISH seldom takes a position as an organization. (The FISH Board did oppose the Ørsted power cables and power transmission station at the Fenwick [Island State Park] in 2019.)
Fenwick is under intensifying development pressure, like much of Sussex County. We have challenges due to small size, close proximity of residences and commercial properties, poor quality of highway infrastructure and propensity for flooding.
Speaking only for myself, the last years have seen a pattern of emotional statements by council members and their allies, attacking citizens and claiming that differing views are false information. This has been troubling, as civil discourse is based on respect and recognition that hearing differing opinions is part of the democratic process.
I believe bitter divisions among people of the town could be resolved if they were addressed in a transparent and balanced way that preserves the essential qualities of the town while allowing for business of suitable scale. I hope that we will get onto such a path soon.
Amy D. Kyle