Room for many volunteers in Dewey

January 25, 2013

I’d like to thank all the volunteers and citizens groups in town who work so hard to make Dewey a great place. As a commissioner, I have been pleased to see the Dewey Business Partnership of the bars and businesses in Dewey organize events such as the New Year's Eve Skimboard Drop and Dewey Plunge to bring people to town; the Friends of Dewey organize fun shoulder season events; the Rehoboth-Dewey Chamber of Commerce helps with our beach movies and bonfires; and the Dewey Civic League organized our holiday tree lighting at the entrance to town for the second year in a row. All of these civic booster groups bring people to town and increase our enjoyment of town in many ways.

I'd also like to thank Citizens to Preserve Dewey, which continues to provide substantive, issue-oriented information to property owners on a wide range of issues regarding Ruddertowne and maintaining the character of our town, as well as public safety concerns and ways to increase enjoyment of our homes and property values. Most recently, we have seen their hard work in advocating for an engineer to oversee Ruddertowne development on behalf of the town for a performance bond letter to be required in a timely manner from Dewey Beach Eenterprises, for citizens to get transparent oversight of the project by the town’s administrators and for active enforcement of DBE’s legal obligations required by the settlement agreement signed two town councils ago.

The town is both a codefendant with DBE because of the actions of that council, and now a regulator whose duty is to inform the public and enforce the legal obligations of that agreement. It is a somewhat awkward role because the construction began before the legal appeal process had resolved the citizen lawsuit, but it is a necessary one because the town has an obligation to protect the public’s interests in the enforcement of the settlement agreement known as the MAR. We cannot fail to do our duty in that enforcement because we were conjoined by a previous council in a settlement agreement with the developer who had sued the town and its volunteers six times.

It is now in both the town's and DBE’s interests for the building currently under way to be a successful venture within the legal and code requirements that must be met by the project. We are doing our best to keep citizens informed, and there is a public hearing Friday, Feb. 8, requested by the town commissioners with Delaware’s environmental agency for all citizens who wish to attend. For more information, go to the town website and look under construction projects.

As volunteers ourselves, we appreciate what each of these groups of volunteers brings to the table in contributing time and effort to making the town a better place. There is room for all kinds of volunteerism in Dewey Beach, and let’s be grateful for the many ways that all of our volunteers choose to serve the town.

Joy Howell
commissioner, Dewey Beach

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