Report on March 5 M&C Workshop
The Mayor and all Commissioners met at a Workshop meeting on March 5, and discussed the following topics:
Silver Lake Construction
Commissioner Coluzzi read as Correspondence to the Commission a petition signed by 126 Rehoboth Beach citizens regarding construction of house at 6 Silver Lane. (Editor’s note: the petition has now been signed by over 140 citizens.)
Mayor Cooper observed that the Board of Adjustment has scheduled a hearing on the question of re-hearing the case of 6 Silver Lane for March 19, and the Commission must await the outcome of that decision. Commissioner Coluzzi asked if a review of setbacks on Silver Lake could be placed on agenda for regular meeting. Commissioner Hunker supported her request. Commissioner Gossett remarked that there were several issues relating to Silver Lake outlined in the 2010 Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) and that all should be addressed. Mayor Cooper will add Silver Lake review to a future agenda.
City Solicitor Glenn Mandalas commented he has met frequently with the Mayor and other Commissioners and that all were concerned about the situation but “the process must play out.” MandaIas also stated he has been meeting with attorneys for all the parties in the dispute. In response to Commissioner Hunker, he advised that lawyers for the citizens will advise their clients on further actions following ruling on March 19. In response to Commissioner Gossett, Solicitor Mandalas commented that a stop work order is automatically issued when the Board of Adjustment accepts a case, but not if they do not have an active case. If the Board of Adjustment agrees to re-hear the case, the stay should be instituted again.
Assessment of Rehoboth Beach Properties
Discussion with PTA/DELVAL, a property assessment firm, concerning the steps and issues involved in a complete re-assessment of the City. The last assessment of properties was done in 1968 and property values have dramatically increased since then. While assessments may increase, the tax rate would be adjusted to avoid dramatic increase in taxes. Owners may appeal the re-assessment. The firm will make every reasonable attempt to visually inspect the land and exterior of each property. Commissioners discussed the proper way to notify all citizens if a re-assessment is to occur, explaining the process and schedule. While there has been discussion of Sussex County using Rehoboth Beach's reassessments, this cannot happen. Sussex County must do its own re-assessment of the entire County.
Request for approval of a re-assessment will be placed on regular meeting agenda.
Commissioner Coluzzi presented a proposal that the Rehoboth Beach Farmers' Market contribute monies for plantings and volunteer hours to maintain gardens at entrances to Grove Park. The existing irrigation system could possibly be extended to help with watering. City Manager Ferrese commented the City "could make it work" and will further discuss with Commissioner Coluzzi. Request for approval will be placed on regular meeting agenda.
Commissioner Zellers outlined a proposal to begin a “Rehoboth in Bloom” project, similar to the very successful plan initiated about 10 years ago in Lewes. The City would be asked to contribute $10,000. The first area of focus would be the bandstand. Volunteers would be needed for maintenance and watering. The Council for Inland Bays is interested in placing a rain garden at the City Hall complex in Rehoboth. The beautification project could encourage people to become more involved by volunteering. Request for approval will be placed on regular meeting agenda.
Pedestrian and Bike Plan Recommendations
Commissioner Coluzzi presented selected recommendations from the Streets and Transportation Committee for a bicycle and pedestrian plan for city. These include: more crosswalks on Rehoboth Avenue to minimize jaywalking; signs at designated areas noting pedestrian traffic; removal of 2 parking spaces at the intersection of Rehoboth and Baltimore Avenues to improve visibility, which would be replaced with bike racks; installation of a delayed right turn signal at southbound First Street and westbound Rehoboth Avenue to allow more time for pedestrians to cross Rehoboth Ave. (Note: all implementation on Rehoboth Avenue would require approval from DelDOT.)
Placed on agenda for regular meeting the ordinance to amend Section 220-27 of the Municipal Code of the City of Rehoboth Beach relating to sewer charges, specifically increasing the infrastructure improvement sewer service surcharge to 50% of the total of each sewer bill.
Discussed a proposal from T2 Systems to provide a parking enforcement solution to the City that interfaces with Parkmobile, including all software, 10 handheld ticket writers, hosting of the City’s data, a system for ticket payments over the internet, etc. While no vote could be taken on the $122,000 proposal because presented at workshop, consensus was to proceed on those systems required to be operational if system to be ready for the 2012 season. Request for final approval will be placed on the March 16 regular meeting agenda.