Bethany officials make a big move with purchase

Editorial

Let’s take a minute and tip our hats to the town council and administrators of Bethany Beach.

The council voted unanimously on Oct. 18 to purchase the last large parcel of open space remaining in town for $1.4 million, thus preventing it from being developed and, hopefully, protecting the town from future flooding concerns.

That property, located on the north side of Route 26, opposite Candle Light Lane and adjacent to the Loop Canal, has long been owned by Stanley Walcek. He has brought it to the Town several times in the past over the past decade-plus to develop it in configurations, but it has been stymied due to significant amounts of wetlands on the property, and voices of opposition from its neighbors. Now, the owner has been able to sell that property, and the Town of Bethany Beach has made a significant investment in the future of the town.

Mayor Lew Kilmer explained that a significant cause for the Town’s purchase of the property was indeed the subject of tidal flooding. “It’s our policy to be proactive and do whatever is feasible to mitigate tidal flooding,” said Kilmer. “... Purchasing and maintaining it in its natural state is crucial to the Town’s efforts to achieve this goal. If sold and developed, it would have a very negative impact on the town overall — especially nearby neighborhoods.”

This is a really good decision by the Town, and illustrates the importance of looking down the proverbial road before permitting future growth. Everything has an effect, and officials looked at the effect here and made a move. Kudos.