Dewey Beach Town meeting, May 12, 2012

            Citizens to Preserve Dewey Beach

There will be an important Town Meeting this Saturday, May 12, at 9 AM
at the Lifesaving Station.  A complete agenda and live video streaming are available
at Two items that may be of particular
importance to our homeowners: 

1.  Discuss and possibly vote on a Noise Ordinance Amendment, lowering the
allowed decibels.  (See Agenda Item 4 for complete details.)

Even at the reduced level, Dewey will have a higher allowed noise level
than Rehoboth Beach. With our small size, many of our businesses are in
closer proximity to residential areas than are the businesses in Rehoboth. 

We expect there will be opposition to this ordinance change, and it is important
that Council hear opinions on all sides of this issue.  Please let your
Commissioners know how you feel about the noise issue in Dewey Beach --
either by emailing them or attending the meeting.

Discuss and possibly vote on Revised Ordinance on Temporary
Expansion of Premises (bars and restaurants expanding service into their
parking lot).  The Town Council can amend the proposed ordinance, if desired,
and may vote on the final version at this meeting. Again, citizen input is greatly
needed. (Agenda Item 6)
  • Friday's Planning Commission Meeting  was well attended; however, more wrote
  •  letters and spoke in favor of unlimited applications for off-season expansion events.  A compromise
  •  proposal was reached, which increases the allowed events from two to four expanded events per year per establishment: two in-season, and two off-season.        
  • It is our understanding that there are approximately eight establishments that could expand their premises -- for a potential of 32 expanded events per yearAdditionally, each event can be approved for a period of three days, which could result in 96 days of expanded events (48 in-season and 48 off-season). 
  • The proposal includes a provision that all expenses incurred by the town must be covered by the business holding the event.  
  •  There was discussion about limiting the hours of the off-season events from 8AM to 8PM (as they are in-season), but the proposed ordinance was drafted without that stipulation.  There is concern that, without a time limit in the ordinance, the establishment may be allowed to continue to host patrons and serve alcohol until 1 AM -- to a larger than normal crowd, in an outdoor area where noise cannot be easily contained.  
  • Testimony in favor of the expansion was presented by business owners and residents. Speakers supporting the expansion cited larger crowds in the off-season to support our businesses, as well as more activities for the town.

  • Additional testimony from property owners against the proposed ordinance cited the issue of excessive crowds, noise and drunkenness spilling over into the more quiet "off-season" -- along with concern that the town and police do not have the resources to control these large crowds, at a time when their staff is greatly reduced. There was also comment that the issues of public drunkenness, urination, vandalism and noise have not been adequately remedied in the summer season -- and that additional expansion events should not be considered until these problems have been addressed.

We would like to note that there has been some confusion about this issue.  Events and charitable functions, such as the breast cancer fundraiser, can be held at any time of year without permission from the town.  These events require an expansion of premises permit only if the business expands its patron service area into the parking lot.   

If you would like to share your opinion on these or any of the agenda items, please contact our Town Council.  As evidenced by last month's Town Meeting, our Commissioners WILL listen.

Email addresses for Town Council:

Mayor Diane Hanson |
Joy Howell |
Jim Laird | This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Marty Seitz | This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Anna Legates | This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Complete Agenda can be found at  Click on May 12 on the Calendar, then on the 9 AM Town Meeting.  The changes being considered to the Town Charter are online in the same location.


Citizens to Preserve Dewey,

Anne Duffin, Rick Judge, Linda Winton, Marcia Schieck, Joan Claybrook

e-mail us: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  |