Fenwick Island sells trash trucks, nets $48k

Fenwick Island is $48,000 richer, thanks to the recent sale of their town-owned trash trucks. Town manager Tony Carson reported at the Town Council’s May 23 meeting that, with the help of Police Chief William Boyden and his knowledge of eBay, the two trucks have been sold and the buyers were to fly in to retrieve them.

The town council on May 23 also approved a motion by Councilman William Weistling for a re-designation of West Virginia Avenue and Virginia Avenue Extended. The motion will switch the two street names.

According to Building Official Pat Schuchman, the town received a letter from a property owner requesting clarification, because Sussex County tax records show the road going in a north/south direction as Virginia Avenue and the road going in an east/west direction as West Virginia Avenue Extended. The town has them designated as being the opposite.

The importance of emergency responders being able to find the properties was noted in introducing the motion. The change will become official once the town gets permission from the Sussex County 911 system to switch the street signs.

Weistling, who also serves as chairman of the town’s Charter and Ordinance Committee, also recommended May 23 the approval on second readings of amendments to four sections of town code, under Chapter 61, Construction:

• Section 61-1, Permits Required, will be amended to include that no permit shall be issued solely for pile, concrete or masonry foundations.

• Section 61-2, Violations and Penalties, will be amended to include that, upon conviction of any single charge, which may encompass and include each day of violation up to and including the date of conviction, a violator shall be subject to a fine of $100 for each day the violation occurs.

• Section 61-4, Issuance of Permits, will include an additional Section G, which states that any permit shall require a certificate of compliance with all ordinances and regulations of the town from the building official before additional permits can be approved.

• 61-7, Duration of Permit, will have the existing paragraph deleted and replaced in its entirety. The new section allows that building permits will be issued now for 15 rather than 12 months; for people who would need to renew, they could do so for six months, but would have to pay 100 percent of the original fees for the building permits, eliminating the original renewal fee of 20 percent of a project. The code will also include in-depth information on renewal of permits, delay/time extension, the effect of a failure to comply with time limits for construction completion and information on an appeals process

At Weistling’s request, the council also approved on May 23 a first reading requesting a deletion of Item 15 in Section 112, Parking. Weistling said the purpose of the change was to identify areas in town in which parking is permitted and to make those parking rules more clear. Where denoted by the color yellow, parking is prohibited.

Council also approved a first reading removing, in its entirety, Section 112-8, No Parking. Weistling said this was to allow more flexibility in bayside parking and could possible open the doors for additional oceanside parking spots as well.

“I never could figure out why it was in there, and by eliminating it, it gives us more flexibility for the future,” he explained.

The council also extensively discussed changing Section 116-5, Zoning, regarding allowances for educational institutions to hold classes in the town. Weistling suggested the idea be brought to the charter and ordinance group for further study rather than being voted upon by the council as a first reading on May 23.

Councilwoman Vicki Carmean countered that the allowance was not a big deal if the particular location was adequate. She mentioned that Bible classes, and others, are already held there.

Councilman Chris Clark noted the possibility of extending a temporary permit to Salisbury University to hold classes in the town, adding that the president of the university was a property owner there.

“We don’t want to lose the opportunity to Bethany Beach, and then they hold classes there for eternity,” said Clark.

Mayor Audrey Serio said, “We could have gone ahead and done it. But I agree we need to look at it and see what it says, so we can give people the opportunity to take a class if they want to.”

Wesitling emphasized the need to send it to Charter and Ordinance.

“This is the first I’ve heard of it — 10 minutes ago. It was included as part of the ordinance years ago, and it deserves to be looked at further,” he said.

The council decided to wait on the first reading of the ordinance change, which led Carmean to introduce the idea for a temporary permit for Salisbury University and the church Bible school to hold any ongoing classes.

However, a vote to give that temporary approval for classes to Salisbury University and the Bible school for June, July and August of 2008 was split, with three votes against, two in favor and one abstention.

Serio said the next step was to bring it to Charter and Ordinance, noting that a special meeting could be held to speed the approval process of any resulting code change in time for classes this summer. She added that the whole issue had started with SU trying to get a business license for the classes, and she expressed concerned over whether that was even necessary in the first place.

“I’m not really convinced they need a business license, being a non-profit corporation,” she said.

In other news from the May 23 council meeting:

• The council approved selling water and Gatorade at the town bonfire on July 5, from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., to raise money for lifeguard expenses.

• Council members approved a motion to allow the Village of Fenwick Island to offer live, acoustic musical entertainment on Tuesday and Thursday nights in June, July and August.

• Fenwick Island received their Community Forest Award from the state, awarding them another designation as a Tree City USA for their Tree Triage program.

• Town Manager Tony Carson reported meeting with state Rep. Gerald W. Hocker about the possibility of dredging the canals in the town.

“We are continuing dialogues about the possible dredging of our waterways…” Carson said. “The representative is our biggest advocate and, now, it’s a matter of finding funding.”

• It was mostly storm debris from the May 12 nor’easter that was picked up at the town’s annual Beach Clean-up in the days after the storm, reported Clark. On behalf of Councilman Todd Smallwood, he also said that the Beach Committee is starting to look at outside funding for another beach wheelchair. The cost would be about $1,600.

• Boyden reported that FIPD officer Jason Bergman, who has been serving with the Army National Guard in Iraq, was expected to be home within the next 30 days and back to work by the end of June.

• It was announced that June 9, 10, 11 are the days for collection of large trash items in the town.

• On July 19 at 9 a.m., to coincide with the annual Fenwick Island Society of Homeowners meeting, there will be a meet-the-candidates event at Town Hall for those seeking election or re-election to the council. Another meet-the-candidates session will be held July 22 at 7:30 p.m. There are three seats on the council to be filled this year. Each position has a term of two years. The qualifications for holding this office are the same as those for voting in the annual elections. The filing deadline for candidates is Wednesday, June 18, at 4 p.m.

• Buzz Henifin of the Environmental Committee invited the public to attend their June 11 meeting. The speaker at the meeting will be from Artesian Water. Participants will be able to view a presentation and have answered their questions regarding their town water, from the aquifer to the tap.

The next council meeting will be held on Friday, June 20, at 3:30 p.m. at town hall.