Letters - July 21, 2006

Reader questions ‘agenda’ in Fenwick

Editor’s note: The following letter, titled as “Agenda to consider for the benefit of Fenwick Island,” was addressed to Fenwick Island Town Council candidates and forwarded to the Coastal Point for publication.

1) Fenwick Island needs to retain its present balance between resident and business areas. Although we need businesses to maintain our tax base, we want to keep our “Quiet Resorts” atmosphere.

2) Public Works: As the city grows we have to consider the expansion of Public Works.

I would like to suggest that council consider moving Public Works out of the city so that we can reserve the land the city has for the expansion of city office and maybe a expanding the City Park. This will have to be done sometime in the future and we might as well do it now instead of waiting 10 years then doing it at 4 to 5 time the cost.

3) Yes! We do need a first-class Post Office in Fenwick Island. Not a contract Post Office, which will do us no good. Sea Shell City spends well over $1,500 per month on postage. Most of this is for packages that are mailed from a first-class Post Office in Ocean City, Md., about 2 miles away, or in Selbyville, which is 12 miles away. We do a very large business in mail order and these have to be shipped out the same day. We had a contract postal facility in Fenwick Island before and it was of no use to us as a business and it was only open in the summer — wonderful for the tourist to mail their post cards from. It is our feeling that Fenwick Island is large enough to support a full-time, year-round postal facility in Fenwick Island and that a contract station will not do the job. Sea Shell City Inc. goes on record as not supporting a contract station and is only in favor of first-class, full-time, year-round postal facility in Fenwick Island.

4) Town manager? After reviewing the pros and cons of the advantages and disadvantages of having a town manager I have reach the conclusion that we don’t need a town manager.

The reasons are as follows:

a) Where do we get the money to pay a town manager? He would require at least in the neighborhood of $80,000-$100,000 per year, including a benefit package. Budget for 2007: $1,780.

b) This would be at around .05 percent of the income of the town.

c) A town manager would next want his own secretary, another expense of $35,000 to $45.000 a year, including a benefit package. Another .02 to .03 percent of the income of the town.

d) It’s been my experience that every time a government agency starts a new bureau, in the government, to save money, it ends up costing a lot more than was expected.

e) A bureau tends to do more things than necessary to try and show that they are needed and to become more powerful.

f) I feel that we have enough professional and business leaders in Fenwick Island to make any decision that a town manager would.

g) It’s my recommendation that after the next election in August 2006 that the new commission appoint a board to more or less guide the commission the way a town manager would.

h) The only advantage that I can see for a town manager is that he/she might be able to get the city more grant monies from the county, state and federal governments.

i) Lets not forget; we are a small town.

5) Telephone Service: Local calling area between Fenwick Island and Ocean City, Md. This can be done and is being done. Examples are Bishopville, Md., and Selbyville, Del.; Delmar, Md., and Delmar, Del; and I am sure that there are other areas on the Maryland-Delaware borders that enjoy a local calling area. I am sure that Ocean City will support you in doing this as the residences of Fenwick Island use Ocean City as a shopping area.

6) Traffic lights are placed at the wrong intersections in town. The one at Carolina Street was put there because one commissioner lived up that street at that time. The light needs be at the major intersection of Bayard Street and Coastal Highway, where you have the city hall, fire department, police department, lifeguards and a trash collection pick up station for the whole city.

7) The “Quiet Resorts.” The Council imposes laws about what time contractors and pile drivers can start work and, but nothing about trash trucks. My bedroom faces Highway One and I can count on being awakened every Monday and Friday between 6 and 6:30 a.m. as the trash truck empties the Dumpsters at the Royal Farm Store and Pete’s Restaurant.

8) A committee to look into health insurance of the city employees and sick leave: It seems strange that employees can accumulate sick leave over the years, then collect it when they retire, at the salary they were making when they retired. Most company’s policies are you take it in the year or lose it. We all know that health insurance has gone up, but I see most business talking to their employees and seeing what can be done to lower the cost. It appears that we give all employees of the Town of Fenwick full health and dental insurance. I’m unclear if dependants are included — plus 14 days a year sick leave and 14 days a year holiday time. As a business owner, I feel that this kind of expense would put me out of business.

9) Parking: We do not need parking restrictions on the Bay (west) side of Highway 1 at this time, maybe at a letter date. I would like to see a committee of residents and business owners investigate the parking and make changes as needed. A good example is the four parking places on Bayard on the south side of Town Hall. On sunny beach days, I have never seen a tourist buy a parking ticket to use these space. They all want to get closer to the ocean. On rainy days, I have to buy parking tickets from Town Hall, and then have one of my employees outside giving out the parking tickets so customers can visit the store or museum. Then we have to collect the tickets as they leave so we don’t have to buy more tickets. This is an added expense that should not be put on the business owners in Fenwick Island. If we have to restrict parking on the west side of Highway 1 we could use parking meters, which the public knows how to use. The public is not going to run to Town Hall to purchase a parking permit so that they can shop in the retail stores in Fenwick Island.

10) Public bathrooms: The town should furnish public bathrooms at various locations throughout the city. We charge for parking, but we have no facilities for our guests, who come to our town. We do have public restrooms at Town Hall, but these are only open when the town hall is open.

Maybe portable toilets could be set up at Town Hall and other locations throughout the town?

Jack Childers
Fenwick Island

Reader thankful for efforts of Bethany group
Editor’s note: The following letter was addressed to the Bethany Beach Historical Association and forwarded to the Coastal Point for publication.

We read in the “Letters to the Editor,” (in another publication), that the Bethany Beach Town Council has dissolved the Bethany Beach Historical Association, and placed the Bethany Beach Museum under town management, with the Cultural and Historic Affairs Committee, formed two years ago, as the controlling entity.

The Val Montanari family would like to express our heartfelt appreciation to the Bethany Beach Historical Association for its major part in establishing a museum in our town. If it hadn’t been for the persistence of the members who wanted, as Val Montanari had, to preserve the history of Bethany Beach, we feel that the idea of a museum might have faded away.

The Association established the first museum in 1976 in the town council’s former meeting room behind the old town hall. Dedicated members collected pictures and artifacts, raised money from local organizations and individuals for the project, designed and arranged the displays, and organized volunteers to be in attendance daily when the museum was open.

However, in 1996 the fate of the museum became very uncertain when that building was demolished as the new town hall was being constructed. While the town administrators looked for another place, possibly in a separate building or on property farther away, the museum was closed and exhibits stored, much of them in Association members’ houses. The Association continued its support, and collaborated with the town in setting up two rooms in the new town hall. Association members and docents such as Martha Jean Addy manned it during museum hours.

The museum had to be moved again, and again the Association members volunteered their time and physical effort in re-locating everything into the town hall lobby. Museum experts were consulted about the use of the bigger space, and new display cases and large panels were brought in.

It’s a pleasure now to come into the “walk-through history museum.” The displays are laid out to lead us, literally, through Bethany’s fascinating past to its present. The museum has recently been deemed a “work in progress,” and calls are out for artifacts and photos from Bethany’s past to fill its showcases.

We thank the Bethany Beach Historical Association for its constant dedication through the years since the 1976 bicentennial. We hope there still might be an information counter staffed with volunteer docents, who will maintain Bethany’s short but rich “walk through history” for future generations.

Sally Montanari and family
Alexandria, Va.

Zoning does not belong in Bethany charter

The Bethany Beach Town Council on July 21, 2006, will consider a resolution to amend the town charter. The purpose is to define what can and what cannot be done with the northwest corner (a.k.a. Church/Neff) property.

Rather than putting these requirements into the zoning code, they will require future councils to have a “super-majority” vote and then get state legislature approval/disapproval. There are two problems with this:

(1) This council will tie the hands of future councils. Future councils will know better than the current council what the town’s needs are in the future. This type of impediment is not fair to future councils who will decide what is in the best interests of the citizens at that time.

(2) Several years ago, the BB Town Council voted to not accept an endowment from the state because they did not want the state to determine what the property should be used for. Now, by putting these restrictions into the town charter, they are requiring the state to approve any changes to the charter.

Not only does that add a significant time delay to any plans of a future council but it allows the state to dictate town zoning decisions.

The zoning code is the place for regulation of property uses and restrictions. Zoning does not belong in the Town Charter.

Philip Boesch
Bethany Beach

Reader questions beach play on holidays

On the Fourth of July, while cooling off in the ocean, with my back turned, walking out, a Boogie board came very fast behind me, hitting my leg. I immediately went down. On Wednesday morning it was much worse, so I went to Beebe Medical Center. I have a badly bruised leg and was told to stay off it.

I had to go to work after one day. I also had the expense of a follow-up doctor appointment.

Why were the boards allowed with so many people in the ocean on the Fourth of July?

Martha Ferguson

CBS wants candidates for local elections

The members of Citizens for a Better Sussex County (CBS) announce that individual CBS members are interested in encouraging and supporting the election of “managed growth” candidates for county and state elected office.

There will be a primary election on Sept. 12 and a general election on Nov. 7 for a great number of county and state offices. For example, the Fifth and Fourth District council positions are up for election; as are District 19 and District 10 senatorial districts. All state representative district offices are open, too. In Sussex, they are primarily the 14th, 35th, 36th, 37th, 38th, 39th, 40th and 41st districts.

July 28 at noon is the deadline for Democrats and Republicans to file for office.

We urge people of any political party who are interested in managed growth in Sussex County to file for these offices.

Joan Deaver, President
Citizens for a Better Sussex County (CBS)

Recycling program is easy, a great service

Thank you for your article about the recycling program in the Friday, July 14, edition of Costal Point.

I’ve been requesting the Town of Bethany Beach to have a recycling program for about 10 years. Now they can.

After reading the article, I went online to www.dswa.com and signed up. That was Friday. This Monday, July 17, Jason Nicholson, recycling coordinator, was at my door with a bin and all the bags I’ll need for awhile. Today, Tuesday, July 18, my recycling will be picked up. Whoever said “lower, slower Delaware” has not met the dedicated staff of the Delaware Solid Waste Authority.

We owe it to our children, grandchildren, and all who will be born to help save our planet. Recycling is being made effortless. We owe it to each other to participate. The phone number is 1-800-404-7080.

Lois F. Lipsett
Bethany Beach

Youth program thanks many contributors

Mahatma Ghandi once said, “If we wish to create a lasting peace we must begin with the children.”

Twenty-five youth from the West Rehoboth Summer Youth Enrichment Program headed by Brenda Milbourne, executive director, and Diaz J. Bonville, program director, attended the 27th annual youth weekend enrichment program held on the campus of Delaware State University Friday, July 7, through Sunday, July 9.

This event is sponsored by Delaware State University Cooperative Extension 4-H Youth & Development Program.

The theme for this year is “Paper To Paper,” which focused on “keeping it positive — keeping it real,” and types of paper, such as tests, quizzes, projects, high school diplomas, trade certificates, military training, business owners, associate’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees and doctorate degrees.

Students 9 to 19 years old attended well-rounded and first-class workshops taught by some of the most powerful, talented, influential, experienced and dedicated instructors, who encouraged motivation, leadership, citizenship, positive actions, making healthy choices early in life, goals, sustaining culture, staying in school, making and keeping good grades.

These words were echoed continuously by mentors and role models from across the state, including Dr. Julius Mullens, director of Children & Family First; Darrell Jones, family crisis therapist; Timothy Smith, owner and president of Nu-Generation Images; Dennis Minus, African drummers and dancers instructor; Karla Martin, USDA liaison; and Harry Thayer Jr., 4-H youth and development educator.

Six youth from West Rehoboth Summer Youth Enrichment Program received outstanding 4-H Awards (trophies). They are Alliyia Harris, Outstanding Academic Achievement; Alexus Duffy, Outstanding Academic Achievement; Ashley Boyer, Outstanding Academic Achievement; Kwantae Hovington, Outstanding Community Service; Tyree Hovington, Outstanding Community Service; and Montoz Hall, Outstanding Youth Leadership.

Brenda Milbourne and Diaz Bonville received Outstanding 4-H Youth Awards for volunteer service.

Cudos are certainly in order for Harry Thayer Jr. for coordinating a very rich, successful, educational and informative weekend. His enthusiasm will have a lasting impact upon all the youth in attendance.

“Thayer told the students overall they were very good. He told them one of his goals is to give them information they can use everyday of their life to make them better people. He also said there are more successful people that have gone through the program than unsuccessful; they too can be successful.”

I know first-hand how difficult it must have been to meet and face some difficult challenges. I commend Harry Thayer Jr. for being so graceful, poised, and patient. He mastered everything so well. He dealt with scheduling, meetings, deadlines, reading over 300 applications, contacted speakers, meals, parents, complaints, conversing with every youth, and yet he never lost control.

In my opinion, Thayer smiled and very carefully managed all pre- and post-responsibilities extremely well. For that I am grateful. He “left no child behind.”

“It is through his eyes, it is through his voice, it is through his cooperation he was able to provide a quality program.”

A great big hearty thank you to all the junior and senior counselors far and near, and alumni, for taking time out of your busy schedules to assist with the many duties of serving as leaders, organizers and many other duties that cannot go unnoticed.

Thank you again, Harry, for all you do to help our children learn to become responsible and productive citizens.

Diaz J. Bonville, Program Director
West Side New Beginnings Inc.
Rehoboth Beach

Reader questions why parking should be free

After reading Julia M. Jacobsen’s letters(s) in not one but three local papers about the “new” parking meters on handicapped spaces, I must say I am appalled — not at the fact that there charging people for parking — but instead at the fact that people think just because they are disabled that they should get free parking.

You’re already getting a spot that is closer. Sorry, you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

Rehoboth and Ocean City also meter their handicapped parking spaces, so why should Bethany be any different? The answer: they shouldn’t.\

The town of Bethany has a total of 48 handicapped parking spaces, 33 of which are metered, 15 of which aren’t. Granted that may be confusing, but you should be able to tell if there is a parking meter there or not.

Bethany provides free handicapped parking spaces from Fourth Street to Maplewood, which are conveniently located close to the beach and shops. Since Julia M. Jacobsen lives on Third Street, she should be “friendlier than the town” and instead of asking people how they feel about the “sudden” change — that has been happening since 2005, mind you — she should tell them to go down one street, where there are free handicapped spaces available.

I have no problem with handicapped people. Some have helped save this county. But that gives them no authority to not pay for parking when everyone else has to — $.25 per 15 minutes or a $50 parking ticket, you choose.

Justin Noble
Ocean View

Overdevelopment is the cause of traffic

While I must agree with the previous letters concerning the traffic nightmare on Double Bridges Road (CR363), I believe that the larger issue here is out of control development in rural areas and on secondary roads.

Ten years ago, developments like Ocean Farm and Clearwater Village did not exist, pedestrians and cyclists were never seen and traffic was limited to one or two cars every few minutes. Now you have 10 times the traffic mixed in with the “just a short bike ride to the beach” crowd, all trying to get down a road that was not meant for all these people.

Development has been out of control in this area for years and now we are starting to see the effects of it. The majority of roads in this county are actually maintained by the state. Many of these roads are in areas that the state has designated as Level 4 areas which are for farm land preservation. Part of the level 4 distinction means that the state will not improve or expand roads in that area.

Sussex County, on the other hand, has no problem continuing to approve development after development without any thought about the stress to the roadways and public services like the fire and police departments.

As far as I am concerned, all the secondary roads in the Route 26 area have the same problem: too many people, too many houses, a whole lot of traffic and nowhere to go.

If you think these roads are bad now, wait a few more years. How do you think traffic will be once Millville by the Sea is completed? The largest development in the state’s history being built on a two-lane road — only in Sussex County.

Michael Rowley
Bethany Beach

Double Bridges Road is a nightmare to drive

Why was Double Brides Road made Alt. 54? Vehicle volume has increased and conditions have become worse. We would also like to add our concerns to the letters from Clearwtaer Village, Ocean View and Ocean Farms.

We reside in Plantation Park II. Our road outlet on to Double Bridges Road lies between two curves. This narrow road contains many curves, even after it turns into Bayard Road, which is still Alt. 54, and ends at Route 54.

The 45 mile speed limit is a joke, as it is ignored by many. We have had vehicles speed past us on double and single, solid, yellow lines numerous times. Our signal arrow has been on to make a left-hand turn and, yes, tailgating vehicles have passed us. We fear for our relatives and friends who have to use this road daily.

It is not a road for the numerous cyclists, as there are no bike easements. Deer frequently cross this road any time of day and night. There have already been some serious accidents on Double Bridges Road.

Speeders are a problem all year long, but traffic greatly increases during the summer. We hope some law enforcement measures are taken before a tragedy occurs. The only safe vehicle on this road is an Army tank. Mr. Hocker, what can you do?

J.W. and E.K. Myers
Plantation Park II

Still more on traffic and development in area

In response to those complaints regarding Double Bridges Road traffic, I have this to say: Thanks to the explosive and uncontrolled development over the past seven years we no longer have “country roads.” The “back roads” we once used to escape the summer gridlock have become major highways, despite having only two lanes, no shoulders and deep ditches on each side.

With the winding, often heavily wooded, blind curves, cyclists and joggers have no business on these roads and should be restricted to highways with clearly marked paths.

As to the speed limit, I ask, why did you buy a house to begin with, on a road you felt allowed speeding traffic? I’m sick of hearing people say how much they “love” it here, then try to change it once they build on every last square inch of land. I suppose you’ll be picketing the deer next.

Diane Simmons
Bethany Beach