Newsletter Jan. 8, 2013

 

 

The Mayor and Commissioners met on December 21, 2012. All Commissioners were present.

Among other key actions, the following issues were discussed and voted upon:

                                                                                                                              

Garden of the Navigators

There was a discussion of the proposed “Garden of the Navigators” for Cranberry Park at Olive and Third Streets (across from Bad Hair Day?):

Commissioner Pat Coluzzi stated that the Sister Cities Association had, through their landscape architect, met with all commissioners in good faith, and tried to meet requests for changes to the original design. A revised design was presented that incorporated as many of those requests as possible.  

Commissioner Stan Mills stated he was still concerned about scale and location of the park.

Commissioner Bill Sargent said he hoped for a smaller, more informal garden, which preserves more open space.

Commissioner Lorraine Zellers stated that although many of her concerns have been addressed, many in the community feel they had no say in this design and that it has been forced upon them.

Commissioner Mark Hunker stated that this design is a third compromise, with structures deleted and more open space protected. He said he had heard nothing but good things about this garden. He asked what would ever be acceptable to all the people of the city or all the Commissioners.

Commissioner Sargent stated that the City needs something everyone likes. In response, Commissioner Coluzzi said the City had received 24 letters in favor and 5 people have spoken against the proposal.

Commissioner Patrick Gossett stated that design by committee is never desirable, but that he supports this design because it enhances the city and enhances the park. He said the city needs to go forward. He reiterated that the proposed Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) between the Sister Cities Association and the City was also important to establish roles going forward.

Commissioner Coluzzi made a motion to accept the plan as presented, and Commissioner Hunker seconded it.

Several members of the public, including residents on Olive Street, other Rehoboth Beach residents and business owners made statements for and against the proposed garden.

Mayor Cooper stated that he was very conflicted in his feelings and that he had heard a lot he agreed with, and a lot he disagreed with. He said that he thought that the process was flawed. He was troubled by the hardscape, always believing that natural areas are desirable.

In the final vote, the proposal passed by a vote of 4-3, with Commissioners Coluzzi, Gossett, Hunker and Mayor Cooper voting yes, and Commissioners Sargent, Mills and Zellers voting no.

Commissioner Gossett said he would take additional suggestions for changes in the MOU, and defer discussion until the next workshop and a vote at next regular meeting. In the meantime, Sister Cities will get a proposal for maintenance of the park.

 

Tree Ordinances

A resolution by Commissioner Gossett was passed to charge the Planning Commission to review the current tree ordinance and other ordinances that affect tree removal, planting and maintenance, and propose suggestions for any amendments that would improve their effectiveness. Commissioner Gossett stated that the City CDPs of 2010 and 2004 call for review of those ordinances. Gossett’s resolution also calls for extensive public input, especially from those who have had tree work approved under the ordinances and those whose properties neighbor where tree work has been approved. (The resolution can be found on the City’s website at http://www.cityofrehoboth.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=content.pagelist&typeID=165)

Commissioner Sargent also added that in 2011, the City approved a canopy goal of 40%.

The motion to approve the resolution was made by Commissioner Coluzzi and seconded by Commissioner Sargent. Commissioner Mills stated the would not vote on the motion, to make the point that motions should not be introduced and passed in the same night.

The motion passed by a vote of 6-0-1, with Commissioner Mills abstaining.

 

Planning Commission

Vice Chairman Mellen reported that the draft lakes report has not been finalized, awaiting written comments from the State PLUS review. The City is also awaiting state determination of ownership of Silver Lake

The Planning Commission has prepared a draft ordinance to provide site review of all properties within 25 feet of the lake, which will be forwarded to City Commission for action.

 

Building and Licensing

A permit of compliance was approved unanimously to Grotto Pizza at 36 Rehoboth Ave to rearrange the floor plan on second floor with no increase in total seating and remodel the facade.

A Permit of Compliance was approved unanimously for Conch Island to reduce restaurant space in order to establish a liquor store.

 

 

Other action

A consensus was determined for the City to become member of American Shore and Beach Preservation Association and fund participation in its annual meeting in Washington, DC.

 

City Manager’s Report

In the City Manager’s report, reviewing projects completed and underway in 2012, it was stated that the City had received $900,000 in grants for improvements to the City infrastructure.

 

Police Report

Police Chief Keith Banks gave a report of statistics for the year, and although Rehoboth Beach continues to be a safe place, he recommended several actions citizens can take to ensure their safety and that of their homes. Those recommendations are attached in the following link:

                                                                                                                       

         

 

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