Planning Commission Report on Lakes

Planning Commission draft of report on  Lakes ready for September 10 Meeting of Mayor and Commissioners/Planning Commission

Joint meeting with city commissioners set for Sept. 10 (9 am)

By Ryan Mavity | Aug 20, 2012
Cape Gazette August 20
Photo by: Ryan Mavity The Rehoboth Beach Planning Commission is set to release a 15-page report at a joint meeting with the city commissioners Sept. 10 on measures to improve the city's lakes, with a large focus on Silver Lake.

Rehoboth Beach — A new report on Rehoboth Beach's lakes will call for a no-build buffer surrounding the lakes and monitoring of their condition.

The Rehoboth commissioners and planning commission will hold a joint meeting, Monday, Sept. 10, to discuss the planners’ draft report on recommendations for improving the health of the city’s lakes.

Planning Commission Chairman Preston Littleton said the 15-page report is not yet releasable; the joint meeting will be a chance for the planners and city commissioners to assess where the report is and what direction the planners will take to refine it.

Littleton said the scope of the report is broad and inclusive.

The commission’s original charge from the city commissioners was to craft ordinances to protect Lake Gerar and Silver Lake while balancing the interests of property owners and citizens.

The commission’s report, Littleton said, does not present written ordinances, but instead presents a series of recommendations that could be developed into ordinances. He said one of the goals of the joint meeting is to see if the commissioners want the planning commission to write ordinances.

Littleton said the report pays particular attention to stormwater management and bank stabilization.

Littleton said the most surprising thing the planning commission found in its research on Silver Lake is that much of the runoff that ends up in the lake does not come from lakefront properties, but from houses in the vicinity of the lake.

He said the biggest problem is silt and sedimentation from construction getting into the stormwater outfall pipes leading into Silver Lake. The report, Littleton said, recommends measures such as silt screens for construction areas and keeping dumpsters on pervious surfaces, such as grass, rather than impervious surfaces such as the street. Littleton said the dumpsters often leak fluids, which if they get into the stormwater system, can go into the lake.

The report would recommend a no-build area around the lake, and require site plan review for any structure built near the lake’s edge, Littleton said. He would not say how close the structure would have to be to initiate a site-plan review or how wide the no-build area would be.

Littleton said the report also recommends routine monitoring of the lakes and to continue to pursue dredging of Silver Lake’s west end, which has been plagued by silt buildup over the years.

The state has pledged $200,000 for the proposed $300,000 dredging project, but logistics and additional funding are still being worked out.

The report, Littleton said, recommends the city continue to contain solids getting into the lakes through measures such as street sweeping and stormceptors, which have been placed on two stormwater outfall pipes running into Silver Lake and filter out oils and sediment. Littleton said the planners are also recommend the city continue to increase its tree canopy, particularly in areas like south Rehoboth and Country Club Estates.

The other major area of the report, he said, is bank stabilization, which can include natural buffers, riprap and bulkheads. Littleton said the report recommends properties that have no bank stabilization, should have a 10-foot natural, no-mow area.

He said while this measure would need to be done on a lot-by-lot basis, natural buffers are a way to reduce geese and other problems.

“It’s been an educational experience,” he said. “We’re pretty pleased with the research that has been done. I think it will surprise people in its research.”