URGENT--ACTION ITEM--ZONING AMENDMENTS

URGENT---ACTION ITEM---ZONING AMENDMENTS

 

Save Our City supports the package of proposed changes to the zoning code designed to preserve and protect Rehoboth’s residential neighborhoods.

 

Over the past several years, large commercial establishments built primarily for rental to large groups have invaded the city’s residential neighborhoods bringing undo congestion and noise to once quiet streets and to the detriment of other visitors and the city’s part time and full time residents. Developers and speculators will continue to take advantage of the liberal rules of our zoning code until stopped. The current code is not an effective deterrent to developers who always build to the maximum with no thought to the neighboring properties or to the community as a whole.  Delaware’s coastal towns with the most stringent zoning codes, such as Henlopen Acres, have higher property values than those towns with lax zoning such as Dewey Beach and Fenwick Island. Our tiny, one mile square  Rehoboth Beach is treasured as largely traditional in terms of its history, defined neighborhoods, and its attractive wooded appearance with large trees reaching almost to the ocean. Residential lots are small. The typical residential house in Rehoboth modest in scale with mature landscaping. To allow the development that has taken place within the past decade to continue will inevitably make Rehoboth a less desirable community and as a consequence property values will not be maintained at today’s level.  The city’s standard lot of 50’ x 100’ is not of sufficient size to allow five bedroom houses with pools and still preserve the green space and trees both of which are vital components of the charm and livability of the city’s neighborhoods.

 

The property rights invoked by developers and investors conflict sharply with the property rights of the owners of adjacent property. If developers wish to pursue the building of “mini-hotels” they must do so in the city’s commercial zones.

 

The noise ordinance alone will do little prevent the decline of the quality of life in our neighborhoods. Many people are reluctant to call the police on their neighbors. The burden should not fall on them, but rather on the city and the city must put the brakes on over-scale development.

 

The proposed common sense changes to the zoning code help to fulfill the mandates set forth in the Comprehensive Development Plan, approved by the State of Delaware as required by law, specifically “Thorough enforcement of the vacation rental housing regulations, health and safety inspections, and licensure” (p. 16) and “To preserve Rehoboth’s overall character and small town charm” (p. 75). The changes to the code will help preserve and protect Rehoboth Beach for future generations, long after today’s developers and profiteers are gone. To accede to their demands to leave the zoning as is will only serve to speed up the rapid changes taking place and act to the detriment of the residents and the city as a whole.

 

Save Our City has been continuously dedicated for thirteen years to honoring the comprehensive planning process and protecting the character of Rehoboth Beach. We urge you to let our mayor and commissioners know by July 17 that you support their effort to enact reasonable controls on aggressive over development. Thank you very much for making the hard choices necessary to conserve the very best of Rehoboth.

 

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To contact the mayor and commissioners:

 

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and send a copy to the city’s secretary:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 

If you prefer, you can write to the mayor and commissioners at:  City Hall, PO Box 1163, Rehoboth BeacH DE 19971