Call for action and report on May 18 Commissioners' meeting

CALL FOR YOUR IMMEDIATE ACTION:  Proposed State funding for sediment removal in Silver Lake is in jeopardy.


In order to improve the health of Silver Lake, the proposed state budget for next year had provided funds for sediment removal.  That funding is now threatened.  Save Our City encourages all residents to write THIS WEEK to Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf and State Senator George Bunting, with copies to DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara and Country Club Estates Property Owners Association President Tom Zellers to help save this important funding to save our lake!


Below are the email addresses of the designated individuals and a letter you may use as a model.  The best letters are in your own words, but please feel free to use this draft letter if you do not wish to write your own letter.




May xx, 2012


The Honorable Peter C. Schwartzkopf

Legislative Hall Office

P O Box 1401

Dover, DE  19903

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The Honorable George Bunting

Legislative Hall Office

P O Box 1401

Dover, DE 19903

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Dear Representative Schwartzkopf and Senator Bunting:


As a Rehoboth Beach resident, I write today regarding the health and enjoyment of Silver Lake. 


We have enjoyed the beauty of our city’s lakes since we first started visiting Rehoboth Beach. The City has done an excellent job in helping to rejuvenate Lake Gerar, which lies entirely with in City limits. Unfortunately, over the past several years, we have watched as the health of Silver Lake has been steadily declining due to the sediment and run-off from the city's storm drains. 


This has become particularly problematic in certain areas of the lake with almost non-existent water levels, algae blooms, fish kills and odors. It is especially worrisome since this area is bordered by a popular tot lot and the Rehoboth Elementary School.  We are concerned for the health of our children.


As we understand, you, the City, and DNREC have been working to budget funds in this year's state budget for sediment removal, which we all agree is necessary to effect a permanent solution. 


We are appealing to you to keep those funds in the budget.  Now is the time to act.  This situation has been allowed to go on far too long and soon it may be too late.


We are counting on you to help restore Silver Lake so that future generations can continue to enjoy its beauty.







Collin O’Mara

Secretary of the Environment and Energy


89 Kings Highway

Dover, DE 19901

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Tom Zellers

President, Country Club Estates Property Owners Association

308 Stockley Street

Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971

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The Mayor and Commissioners met on Friday, May 18.  All Commissioners were present and took the following actions:


  • Commissioner Coluzzi led the discussion, prior to a Public Hearing, of a proposed ordinance that would impose a moratorium on the issuance of any permit or other approval for any construction within fifteen (15) feet of the ordinary high water mark of any fresh water body located or partially located within the municipal limits. The moratorium would be effective from date of passage until February 14, 2013, or until new ordinances are passed, whichever comes first.  During this time the Planning Commission will develop the revised ordinances, submit them to the Mayor and Commissioners for review and passage. The Planning Commission report is due no later than June 22.  Commissioner Zellers recused herself from the discussion since she owns property adjoining Silver Lake.


Two property owners spoke during the public hearing:  One who expressed objection that regulations would be imposed by Commissioners who did not own property on any lakes, and another individual who owns property on Silver Lake but not in Rehoboth Beach who supported the moratorium.


Commissioner Hunker explained that no permits for prohibited work would be issued during the period of the moratorium.


Two letters were read into the record stating that the residents who wrote them oppose the moratorium as it affects plans for their property.


The moratorium was approved by a vote of 5 to 1 (Commissioner Zellers recused and Commissioner Mills opposed).  The moratorium will be posted on the City website.


Commissioner Gossett had attended the May 12 Planning Commission workshop on the moratorium and reported that detailed documentation on alternatives to protect the lake has been collected and is being considered by the Planning Commissioners.  The Planning Commission has submitted to the Mayor and Commissioners their second report on the examination of possible ordinances to protect the lakes.


For continuing information on the moratorium, please visit:


  • Mayor Cooper introduced a presentation by and discussion with Rip Copithorn of GHD, and Bob Stenger, head of the Wastewater Treatment Facilities, on the recently completed City of Rehoboth Beach Wastewater Treatment Plant Preliminary Engineering Report.  Mr. Copithorn reported the present plant has been in operation for 25 years and updates should be made to continue the excellent record of service.  If updated, the plant should operate almost like new for the next 20 years.


The selected upgrade will add reliability to the present system. Updating of the wastewater plant will be completely separate from the Ocean Outfall process.


Favorable loans for the upgrade are available from the US Department of Agriculture.  Mr. Copithorn estimates that this will be a $25 million project.  The Mayor and Commissioners authorized the City Manager and City Engineer to prepare documents necessary for requesting the funding.


Mayor Cooper announced that the GHD proposal would be posted on the City website and that it should serve as a model for clarity which would serve anyone preparing proposals for review and approval.


  • The Police Chief reported that all 23 summer hires would be trained and on duty by May 25.


  • It was reported by the City Manager that the new Parkmobile system for meter parking will be in effect beginning on May 25, when meters go in to service for the summer.  Commissioner Gossett reported on the communications plan to inform residents and visitors about the system and encourage them to use it.