Letters to the Editor — January 29, 2016

Frankford resident offers endorsements


Frankford has their annual election on Saturday, Feb. 6, to elect three town council members. This is a very important election that I encourage all residents to be a part of by having their voices heard by their vote. The Town has come a long way over the last 12 to 18 months, and in order to continue the momentum and not revert back to the mistakes made in the past, we need the right representatives in these positions.

Citizen involvement has been the most important part of Frankford’s revitalization. Town meetings are now well-attended, where in the past only one or two citizens showed up. The new council has allowed all residents’ points of view be heard and considered.

Frankford now has committees that primarily consist of residents and one or two council members. These committees are tasked with the issues that affect all of us, including the budget, charter, employee benefits and more. All residents are welcome on these committees.

Citizen involvement has also led to the Envision Frankford committee. This is a cooperative effort between the Town government, businesses, residents and churches. Although it has only been around for approximately eight months, Envision Frankford has already produced the two most successful events the Town has had: the Fall Festival and Christmas in the Park.

The Town has made real progress over the last six months and has built the foundation for lasting positive change. It has taken a lot of work to get to this point, and a lot of work still needs to be done. This includes a charter revision that is long overdue, a transparent budget that works for all residents, smart growth that enhances the town while preserving the small-town qualities we all love, and modernizing our infrastructure.

But none of this will happen by accident. We need a council that is committed to these issues and will do the work necessary to bring them to fruition. That is why I encourage my fellow citizens when they vote on Feb. 6 that they pull the levers for Pam Davis, Marty Presley and Skip Ash.

Along with existing members Joanne Bacon and recently appointed Greg Welch, this will be a very strong council. They have been there since the beginning of the process to change town hall and have participated both as council members and citizens. They are committed to the issues facing Frankford and determined to see that they are accomplished in a way to serve all of Frankford, not a chosen few.


LBWC able to offer multiple scholarships


Lord Baltimore Women’s Club is proud to announce, because of the community’s support of the annual Fashion Show & Luncheon, we are offering multiple scholarships in amounts between $750 and $2,000 to the students graduating in the Class of 2016 and planning to further their education. Further education is almost a “must” if this generation of young adults is to thrive in this world.

For those students who reside in Sussex County and within the following ZIP codes, and attend Indian River High School or Sussex Technical High School, applications will be available from the guidance counselor in charge of scholarships by Feb. 11, 2016. The included ZIP codes are: 19930, 19939, 19944, 19945, 19967, 19970 and 19975.

Parents, please encourage your child/children to pick up all available applications. Should your child/children not apply, the opportunity is lost.

Lord Baltimore Women’s Club is looking to an abundance of applications from the Class of 2016.

Florence Fallavollita, Scholarship Chair
Lord Baltimore Women’s Club

Walsh opposes filling wetlands


I would like to inform the citizens of Bethany Beach that recently Mr. Walcek submitted a permit application to both DNREC and the Army Corps of Engineers requesting permission to fill 1.91 acres of wetlands located adjacent to the Bethany Beach Loop Canal, referred to as the Mews of Bethany. The ultimate purpose of his filling the wetlands is to accommodate the construction of six multi-family buildings.

The Loop Canal wetlands at issue are part (18 percent) of a remaining wetland parcel amounting to approximately 10.5 acres of land that provides a large measure of flood control, water cleansing and wild life habitat. The Loop Canal wetlands are adjacent to the Bethany Loop Canal, which causes major flooding both east and west of Route 1 in Bethany.

The Walceks are attempting to obtain approval by providing a 4-acre compensatory mitigation wetland parcel (located 4 miles from the Loop Canal property). The mitigation site is not on the Loop Canal.

The 2008 Mitigation Rule promulgated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requires that a functional assessment be conducted to identify all of the functions and services the wetlands to be filled now provide, and then use that assessment to ensure that whatever compensatory mitigation is proposed will replace those lost functions in the same watershed as close to the impact site as possible.

By allowing compensatory mitigation to occur over 4 miles away from the impact site and in a difference watershed or sub-watershed unit, the requirements of the 2008 Mitigation Rule will not be met. It will do the Bethany Beach community little good, with the compensatory mitigation to occur so far away.

Presuming the compensatory mitigation project even works, any functions and services it provides will not benefit Bethany Beach citizens or the fish and wildlife species that currently benefit from the Walcek property.

This emphasizes my concern about the creation of wetlands as mitigation so far away from the impact site. The one function that is going to be extremely difficult to replace off-site is the flood storage/attenuation currently provided by the wetlands and uplands on this site, the cumulative loss of acreage in this watershed and the resulting increased flooding observed.

These wetlands also capture and process pollutants, thereby helping to protect and maintain water quality. The wetlands and the associated uplands are an irreplaceable, functioning habitat mosaic, which supports fish and wildlife species, and which also serve as an important refuge, feeding area and migration corridor.

Further fragmentation of the limited habitat of this kind remaining in our community is contrary to the public interest, especially when one looks at this development in the context of the cumulative impacts that have occurred over the years as a result of new construction.

The wetlands in question have not changed and are required to be maintained as such to ensure that inherent benefits, as defined by the Department of Interior & Wildlife Services, are in place, some of which include:

• Flood control (storage and protection);
• Reduction of coastal storm damage;
• Shoreline stabilization;
• Water quality (by removing silt and filtering out and absorbing many pollutants such as waterborne chemicals and nutrients);
• Saltwater intrusion control (creating groundwater pressure that prevents saltwater from invading public water supplies);
• Wildlife habitat on the tract itself and as part of a regional mosaic;
• Waterfowl breeding and habitat (http://www.landscope.org/delaware/overview/);
• Habitat for threatened and endangered species;
• Recreational opportunities, including aesthetic enjoyment of nature, photography and environmental education).

It was for these reasons that this area was originally protected by the federal government and the State of Delaware.

Over the years, we have had numerous flooding occurrences in our area, with water levels reaching sometimes as high as 18 to 25 inches above normal. People in the surrounding area have been forced to evacuate their homes due to flooding.

We accept these occurrences because we prefer to live in a beach community and rely to a great extent on these precious wetlands to help mitigate coastal flooding. However, if the wetlands are filled in, the flood-prone adjacent areas can only be made infinitely worse.

I must also mention that home owners on at least nine streets could be directly affected by this activity, along with the increased flooding impact of the Loop Canal area, not to mention the cumulative effect throughout the town.

Fragile and vulnerable wetland systems can be quickly destroyed by smothering them with fill, bulkheading, dredging and real estate development. These wetlands are balanced, intricate and dynamic. Destruction of these fragile ecosystems will ultimately affect us all.

Please join me in writing a letter to addresses listed below, (letters need to be received no later than Feb. 4, 2016), specifying your position on this matter, requesting that the permit to fill and destroy the wetlands described in the building permit application be denied:

• Ms. Sarah W. Cooksey; Coastal Program; 100 West Water Street, Suite 7B; Dover, DE  19904; Reference: U.S. Army Corps Individual Permit Application, CENAP-OP-R-2010-0374-1, MEWS of Bethany, ECSI Project No: 2006-603 Stanley Walcek, Bethany Beach, DE.
• Mr. Edward Bonner; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Regulatory Branch; 100 Penn Square East; Wanamaker Building; Philadelphia, PA 19107-3390.

Pursuant to this concern, the Bethany town council recently (Jan. 20) submitted a letter to DNREC to oppose Mr. Walcek’s application.

Thanks for your help in this very important matter.

Jack Walsh
Bethany Beach