Fenwick Island residents appear to be divided on the issue of floor-area ratio (FAR). The proposed control on overall home size has been instituted in other coastal towns, such as neighboring South Bethany and Rehoboth Beach. But it is inevitably controversial, since it could substantially limit property owners’ ability to build homes on the higher end of the size scale.
Part-time home owners and seasonal visitors to Fenwick Island may have a few surprises awaiting them when they arrive in the coastal town with warmer weather. For some, the changes will be a total surprise; for others, they will simply be the visual confirmation that time has passed and the town continues its slow transformation.
Fenwick Island residents may be a little closer to bidding a fond farewell to some of their neighbors — not human neighbors, but the town’s garbage trucks, which have sparked complaints about odor and unsightliness at their current storage area within the town limits.
Fenwick Island is seriously considering getting a town manager to run the town’s day-to-day operations and take some of the administrative burden off the mayor and council members. And they’re calling in the experts to ensure they know all they need to know about the job, appropriate qualifications and the best candidates to fill it.
After years of hopes, plans and lobbying, the massive beach reconstruction project in Fenwick Island has entered its final phase. Only a few tasks remain to be completed, with the beach replenished, dunes rebuilt and stabilizing sea grass planted.
When Pat Griffiths and her parents, Steve and Audrey, opened the Shamrock Shanty in West Ocean City about 15 years ago, the family-oriented business sold merchandise for people of all ethnic backgrounds.
Fenwick Island’s search for a town manager proceeded this week with a March 6 meeting of the first of two committees tasked with the project.
Former Town Council Member Edward “Buzz” Henifin chairs the committee and led off the meeting with a review of where the committee’s early-stage research on the position stands.
Fenwick Island Beautification Committee members are ready to move forward with their latest project designed to improve the looks of the beachside town: a series of decorative banners to add a splash of design and color to Coastal Highway year-round.
The change to a town manager-style of administration has long been under discussion in Fenwick Island, and that remained the case at the town council’s Feb. 24 meeting.
For three years, Fenwick Island Mayor Peter Frederick and Councilman Harry Haon have performed many of the administrative duties for the town.
They have taken care of hiring employees, among other personnel duties. They have helped install a new computer system. And they have worked on the town’s budget.
Fenwick Island Town Council voted 4-2 on Jan. 27 to approve the first reading of a floor area ratio ordinance, legislation that would limit the size of new homes built in the town.
The council said it will look to the community for feedback and wouldn’t take a final vote on the ordinance until May at the earliest.
Outside of property and rental receipt taxes, Fenwick Island town officials expected money brought in from building permits to be their largest source of revenue this year.
But after bringing in more than $216,000 in the 2005 fiscal year, and more than $70,000 in December 2004 alone, the town doesn’t expect to even come close to that number when their 2006 year of operations ends on July 31.
Owners of the Seaside Inn in Fenwick Island have been trying to put in an elevator since the building was originally constructed. Though the hotel is now under new ownership and management, that desire was again thwarted this week in yet another Board of Adjustments hearing on the issue, Jan. 23.
Fenwick Island Town Council Member Chris Clark sought to clarify this week the basis of his public support for the proposed Isaacs Glen development outside Milton.
Some Fenwick Islanders in attendance at last weekend’s special council meeting (Jan. 14) were already steamed over new state regulations that would limit homeowners’ ability to build on the seaward (and apparently, bayward) side of their lots.
There were two challenges at the Fenwick Freeze this New Year’s Day. First, the obvious: getting into ocean water that topped out around 40 degrees. Second: getting the event to live up to its well-attended inaugural edition, despite air temperatures some 25 degrees colder.
There may soon be a new gift shop along Route 54 outside of Fenwick Island. Members of the Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) unanimously recommended approval at their Jan. 4 special meeting for a conditional use that allows Edward Chiasson to establish a nautical-themed gift shop on his property near the intersection of Route 54 and 20.
In 2005, Fenwick Islanders kicked off their new year with a splash — a literal one. The town’s first New Year’s Day ocean swim event was a roaring success, drawing hundreds of people to the beach on an unseasonably warm morning that first day of January and many of those people into the chilly waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
It was a light agenda for the Fenwick Island Commercial Liaison Committee (CLC) at their Dec. 15 meeting.
Town Council Member and CLC Chairman Chris Clark unveiled a series of rough sketches that could be the basis of designs for flags the town is considering displaying on Coastal Highway.
Fenwick Island Town Council considered a request from the South Schulz Wetlands Association at the Dec. 16 council meeting, but decided against supporting wetlands conservation via tax relief.
Fenwick Island Town Council members debated a clarified requirement for front yard setbacks (how close to the street property owners can build something) at the Nov. 18 council meeting but ended up in a 3-3 deadlock (Council Member R. Chris Clark absent).
The motion failed.
Fenwick Island Town Council Member Chris Clark admittedly expected a bigger turnout for the Nov. 4 Your Town meeting he had helped organize in the town. But at the conclusion of the two-hour event with several dozen people in attendance, he recognized it was a matter of “quality over quantity.”
Two very different approaches to updating Fenwick Island’s town hall were raised at a Nov. 8 meeting of an advisory group on the issue.
The meeting was on the subject of beautification, but Fenwick Island Town Council Member Chris Clark dropped in an idea that has a larger potential impact on the town than any new landscaping plans or restroom renovations.
In the wake of severe tidal flooding caused by the recent nor’easter, the Fenwick Island Town Council voted unanimously (5-0, with Mayor Peter Frederick and Council Member Martha Keller absent) Oct. 28 to put a focus on the town’s flooding problems.
Fenwick Island’s recent tussle in the courts over its front yard setback requirements was behind an ordinance change proposed with a first reading at the town council’s Oct. 28 meeting.
After a roaring success with the inaugural edition of the Fenwick Freeze New Year’s ocean plunge, members of the town’s Beach Committee are already planning the second annual event, with a theme of “Dive Into 2006.”
Set, naturally, on Jan. 1, 2006, the swim will feature a few changes from 2005.
Fenwick Island Town Council Member Chris Clark and other organizers of the planned Nov. 4 Your Town follow-up meeting are hoping the second edition of the program will bring together residents, officials and interest groups from around Sussex County so a wide range of viewpoints can eventually be incorporated in the county’s next comprehensive development plan (due in 2007).
An initial delay of several weeks on the start of Fenwick Island’s beach reconstruction project may have worked to the town’s favor. Sand lost in the recent nor’easter might just get put back in place before the project is complete.