In Rehoboth Beach, keeping the bones makes good cents

This Rehoboth Beach house, at the corner of Olive Avenue and First Street, was taken down to nearly half its original structure before Garrison Homes began putting a new body on its old bones. BY DENNIS FORNEY
January 4, 2013

For the past several weeks, the Rehoboth Beach structure at the corner of Olive Avenue and First Street has been undergoing a radical transformation.

Garrison Homes stripped the house down to its bare bones and foundation and is bringing it back up to almost new-home status. By Rehoboth Beach standards, the structure, dating back many decades and in the ocean block, is historically significant. But its foundation, floor system and roof structure haven't been retained for historic authenticity. Rehoboth Beach has no historic review process for historic structures. Rather, it comes down to the high value of real estate that close to the ocean.

Terri Sullivan serves as building supervisor for Rehoboth. She said the reason for retaining the bones of the structure is because there are two dwellings on the property. “There are two dwelling units on that property and the lot is less than 10,000 square feet. To retain two dwelling units, the property owner has to retain at least 51 percent of the original structures,” she said. Otherwise, current zoning only allows one unit on lots that size.

In a town where summer rentals bring thousands of dollars, most property owners do whatever they can to preserve the grandfathered zoning that allows two dwelling units on a property.

Sullivan said monitoring such projects and calculating how much has to be retained to meet the 51 percent standard can be tricky. “They were close,” said Sullivan.

She said she is “busy, busy, busy” in Rehoboth for this time of the year. “We have quite a few new homes going up, and renovations. Things are definitely picking up.”

Marilyn Monroe graffiti

A street artist – sometime in the past few years – tagged the old Broadkill River Bridge ruins with stenciled graffiti of Marilyn Monroe. The graffiti image also includes a red rose. Monroe reportedly painted a red rose image – originally inscribed for President John F. Kennedy – that sold at auction after her death for $78,000.

“Curve” gets a recommendation

I usually leave movie reviews in the Cape Gazette to Rob Rector who does a great job letting us know what he thinks is good and what he thinks misses the mark; and, most importantly, why. But when I finished watching “Trouble with the Curve” on New Year's Day, I decided to make it a recommendation. Cheesy? Yes. Well-crafted? Yes. Decent acting? Yes. Good story? Definitely. Relevant? I think so.

Clint Eastwood is crusty as ever, and his daughter in the story, played by Amy Adams, is pretty and smart. The story revolves around baseball, which is the greatest sport ever. It also involves lots of choices and old, wise and humble versus young, inexperienced and cocky.

There's also an underlying and important social element germane to our area, and the nation at large, which the film eventually reveals. The story ends on a high note, which for me was a good way to start the new year. Watch it and see what you think.

Happy New Year.

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