OVPD volunteers contribute nearly $70K in work to the town

The Ocean View Police Department reported to town council members at their Tuesday, Jan. 14, meeting that OVPD volunteers logged 201 hours in December.

According to the Independent Sector, a volunteer’s time was valued at $25.43 per hour last year. Volunteers served 2,717 hours with the OVPD, equating to $69,093.31, an officer speaking on behalf of OVPD Chief Ken McLaughlin said. The volunteer unit was recognized by the governor as the Outstanding Volunteer Group of the Year in 2005 and 2017, he noted.

In December, McLaughlin attended a firearms training sub-committee meeting, the Delaware Police Chiefs’ Association monthly meeting and Sussex County Police Chiefs’ Association monthly meeting.

The police department hosted public training on Naloxone use in December, with the next session planned for February.

Representatives of the police department also met recently with representatives of the Ball 4 All Foundation. That foundation, with the police department and Ocean View Church of Christ, hosted a sports night for students in sixth to eighth grades on Jan. 10. Called Friday Night Freeze, it offered sports including basketball and dodgeball. The next sessions of Friday Night Freeze will be on Saturday, Jan. 25, Feb. 21, March 6 and March 20.

Planning & Zoning working on flood mitigation, safety

Ken Cimino, Ocean View’s director of Planning, Zoning & Development, in his monthly report to the town council, said the Town had applied for a $75,000 Flood Mitigation Assistance Grant from the Delaware Emergency Management Agency for construction of the Hudson Avenue Pipe Culvert Replacement Project.

Cimino also reported that the 2020-fiscal-year street patching and paving project is complete, but curb repair in Bear Trap Dunes is on hold until March, due to weather-caused delays.

Concerning the safety of cyclists and pedestrians, Cimino said his staff and McLaughlin had met with representatives from the Towns of Bethany Beach, South Bethany and Fenwick Island, the Bethany-Fenwick Chamber of Commerce, Mariners Bethel United Methodist Church and the Delaware Office of Highway Safety on Tuesday, Jan. 14, “to continue to develop outreach strategies for this year’s pedestrian and bicycle safety campaign.”

He assigned Century Engineering to study the speed of drivers along Ogre Drive in the Ocean Way Estates community, in response to constituent concerns. Data will be collected in a non-peak week in February and a peak week in July, and include speed, volume and type of vehicles. Information will be analyzed and a determination made about what action will be taken, Cimino said.

Construction halted after work-hours violation

Cimino reported that a cease-and-desist order was issued to Ryan Homes in the Silver Woods development on Dec. 21 “for a repeated violation of Article IV, 84-16 of the Building Construction Chapter of the Town Code, which establishes permitted work hours on weekdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

“The cease-and-desist order was lifted on Friday, Jan. 3, 2020,” he said.

Park improvement complete, events planned

Town Manager Carol Houck reported to the council that the turf improvement project at John West Park was completed before the holidays “and our contractor and staff are very pleased with the outcome.”

“It’s made a tremendous difference in the levelness of the park, for the safety of people running or even just walking. … We’re really looking forward to spring and summer, and having a much better-looking park,” she said.

She announced dates for this year’s community events. They are:

• Spring concerts, Fridays at 6:30 p.m., on May 22, May 29, June 5 and June 12, with rain dates, if needed, on June 19 and 26.

• Summer Classic Movie Nights, each with a theme, on Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m., on July 15, July 22 and July 29, with rain dates, if needed, on Aug. 5 and Aug. 12.

• Cops & Goblins, 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 24, with a rain date of Sunday, Oct. 25.

• Old Town Holiday Market & Tree Lighting, 2 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 28, with a rain date of Sunday, Nov. 29.

Budget eliminates full-time Public Works positions

Houck said staff members have been preparing budget request submissions before meeting with her and Finance Director Dawn Parks. Parks is preparing revenue forecasts for the 2021 fiscal year, and Houck is completing a salary survey review.

She announced a cost benefit in the first draft of the budget, by eliminating three full-time positions in the Department of Public Works, since a pilot program to outsource Public Works responsibilities was deemed a success.

Town vehicles marked

During the past two weeks, the Town logo has been affixed to Ocean View vehicles.

“This identification is necessary to ensure awareness that our employees are representing Ocean View during engagement with citizens, contractors and businesses,” Houck said.

Citizen’s concern about glass in street

During the Public Comments portion of the Jan. 14 meeting, Dick Jennison, who lives on Ogre Drive, asked the council if the community’s developer has turned the street over to the Town.

Cimino said that it has not yet been turned over, but he talked to the developer again on Tuesday of this week, asking for the “as-built” drawings, so the Town can approve them, accept the street and return the developer’s bond money.

Jennison said drivers speed on that street, going well over the 15-mph speed limit, but it can’t be enforced until the street is owned by the Town. He said he was run off the road by a speeder, reported it to the police and was told there was nothing police could do unless he was struck.

Not only is speeding a concern, but Jennison said glass that was apparently recycled and mixed with the paving material on the road is breaking loose. He said he had removed a piece of glass from his dog’s foot during a walk, and he showed the town council a small plastic bag containing several pieces of glass he said he had picked up.

Cimino said he didn’t know what is in the paving material and said it could be recycled items.

Jennison said if glass was included, it should have been finely crushed.

“The road is peeling off the glass. It is not safe to walk your dog or to ride your bike,” he said.

Cimino said the town engineer had inspected the road and noticed no problems or glass, but that he would send inspectors back to the site.

“If you look at the road, there’s a lot of glass shining through,” Jennison said.

Councilman Tom Maly, who was conducting the town council meeting in the absence of Mayor Walter Curran, asked Jennison to give the pieces of glass to Cimino.

Jennison also asked that new streetlights on Ogre Drive be dimmed because, he said, they shine too brightly into homes.

“They can’t be turned down,” Maly said, but Jennison said residents were told the lights would be the same kind as the Beach Club has, but they aren’t. Instead, he said, they are intrusive and forced him to hang dark curtains in his bedrooms. Other neighbors are also concerned, he said.

Houck said the town council supported the lights to improve safety. She said she lives on that street and feels better about getting her mail after dark. If part of a light is blocked, she said, “there might be someone else who wants it to be bright.”

By Susan Canfora
Staff Reporter