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Dewey staking town rights of way

$15,000 project aims to clarify property lines throughout community
Blue and orange tape tops recently staked posts indicating town rights of way on Houston Street in Dewey Beach. CHRIS FLOOD PHOTO
April 19, 2017

Story Location:
Houston Street
Dewey Beach  Delaware  19971
United States

Dewey property owners and visitors may be in for a surprise when they arrive for the first time this year, because stakes in the ground marking town rights of way will be there.

In January, the town commissioners voted to spend up to $15,000 for a townwide survey establishing public rights of way. Foresight Services, located in Dewey, was hired for the job.

At the time, Mayor Dale Cooke said the goal is to alleviate confusion that arises because street widths vary throughout town. There are properties in town where two people will swear they know what they’re talking about, he said, and they’ll have two different answers.

During the April 8 town council meeting, Town Manager Marc Appelbaum gave a brief update to town commissioners. He said Foresight had begun marking rights of way on about half of town streets, down to Houston Street, and he said he expected the precision measurement company to finish by the end of the month.

A quick look shows the stakes stand about two feet out of the ground and have blue and orange tape tied onto the top. Simple lettering runs down the street side of the stake, reading “DEWEY R/W.’’ Stake placement is generally uniform from street to street - one stake at each end of the street and a few in between.

Every now and then, it appears the stake has been placed for maximum point-making. For example, a property owner on the beach block of Carolina Avenue won’t be able to miss the University of Florida-colored stake that’s halfway between the house and a post-and-chain fence near the edge of the street’s pavement.

During the update, Appelbaum said as the surveyors move from street to street, town staff is taking pictures with immovable landmarks, like telephone poles, as reference points in case the stakes are removed.

The project is being paid for out of the town’s parking permit fund. For the past four years the town has put aside 5 percent of the fund’s revenue specifically for signs, striping and other streets-related expenses. As of October 2017, the balance of the account was greater than $86,000.

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