Medians move forward in Fenwick

Fenwick Island Town Council tentatively awarded a $135,000 Route 1 median landscaping project to Greenscape Landscape at the March 18 council meeting.
Engineer Chuck Hauser of Davis, Bowen & Friedel (DBF) said he was still checking references for the company, but he didn’t expect any problems there.

Hauser said Greenscape’s bid was within what the town had budgeted for the work.

“We’re really excited,” said Council Member Vicki Carmean. “You never know what you’re going to see when you open those (response to advertisement for bids) letters.”

Carmean said the Greenscape bid had been quite detailed and complete as well.

As Council President Peter Frederick pointed out, the town would still need to run the fine details by the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT).

Contingent upon their stamp of approval, Hauser anticipated a preconstruction meeting by March 24, with notice to proceed on March 25, and construction time of 60 days.

Frederick gave a big nod to Public Works Supervisor Neil Hanrahan for his help keeping the project on track. The town hopes to have the work complete by Memorial Day.

Council also approved a $5,600 feasibility study for a bayside dredging project. Council Member Harry Haon brought the proposal to the table.

As Haon emphasized, the study was not a lead-in to any larger project, but merely an effort to get a feel for what such an effort might entail.

Haon said he’d spoken with DBF’s Chuck Hauser about the study, and Hauser had suggested six areas of concentration.

1) Delineate what areas the town would want dredged — just in the canals, or further into the bay.
2) Survey current depths.
3) Get an initial estimate on how much spoils the project would produce.
4) Meet with the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) and the Army Corps of Engineers for their suggestions/recommendations.
5) Stabilize the shoreline at Seal Island.
6) Use the above information to develop a preliminary scope of work and some budget estimates.

As Carmean added, the shoals just offshore the town’s canals were a potential hazard to boaters. However, Frederick said he wasn’t sure how far the town extended into the bay (a question the study should address).

Council Member Theo Brans said the study would be “money well spent — I don’t know if we can get (a dredging project) done, but at least we’d know how much we’d have to spend.”

However, Edward “Buzz” Henefin of Farmington Street said there might be some opposition to such an expenditure — much less an actual project — from residents with no access, on the ocean side.

Council unanimously agreed to retain DBF for the study.

In other business, Lifeguard Captain Tim Ferry detailed a recent beach committee meeting. He said 90-plus percent of last season’s guards would be returning this year.

John Belian of Houston Street reported the advent of a fishing club, and Council Member Martha Keller covered environmental topics from a Chesapeake Bay Foundation course she’d taken.

Keller also gave notice that Center for the Inland Bays (CIB) President Ed Lewandowski would give a presentation at the South Coastal Library on March 29 (7 p.m.), regarding center activities.

Haon received unanimous approval for a $30 fee to cover Town Solicitor Tempe Steen’s costs, whenever she sent a letter to residents regarding code violations, etc.

Steen traditionally charged the town that amount.

He also presented a grandfathering ordinance for second reading.

In essence, if a home is (more than 50 percent of fair market value) destroyed by natural phenomena, the resident can rebuild as it previously existed, even if it was non-conforming.

However, if said destruction or removal is purposeful (teardown), the rebuild has to conform.

Lots with multiple dwellings remain excluded from grandfathering, regardless whether the destruction is natural or purposeful. As an extreme example, if a flood washed away a resident’s house, but left a garage apartment intact, that person could not rebuild the house before getting rid of the garage apartment.

Most of these provisions already exist in town code, but as Haon explained, there was some uncertainty regarding destruction due to natural phenomena.

Council unanimously adopted the ordinance.