Cape Gazette planning Silver Lake dock

March 5, 2013

The Department of Natural Re­sources and Environmental Control has decided it owns Silver Lake, but that same agency has also decided it doesn’t issue permits for docks built into the lake.

That seems to mean it’s a great time to build a dock, and the Cape Gazette plans to get in on the action.

We’re getting ready to build a community dock with a nice, big gazebo so everyone can join us on the lake. As long as the dock doesn’t touch the shoreline, neither Rehoboth Beach nor Dewey Beach will have jurisdiction, and Sussex County officials apparently don’t notice who builds what along the lake. We’re hoping to get the whole thing built before any­one decides whose job it is to enforce rules that say we can’t.

State officials say a study of land records ordered by the General Assembly in 1978 shows the lake has belonged to the people of Delaware since Colonial times, yet some of­ficials are concerned those records might not hold up in court. So they want to investigate all possible claims on the lake before they do anything about docks.

Like others already building into the lake, the Cape Gazette wants to take advantage of this confusion and get our dock built. That way, it will be an existing structure, so offi­cials will be reluctant to force us to remove it.

We’re planning a dock with plenty of space for fishing; maybe we’ll make it big enough so the new Rehoboth Concert Band can get on board and play a few numbers on long sum­mer evenings. At least our dock will get some use, unlike those that have appeared recently as if to claim dominion over some small part of the lake.

It would be unfair to blame the jurisdic­tional confusion on the current administra­tion – the first to finally take action to assert ownership of the lake. But now that it’s clear the people of Delaware own the lake, DNREC must act swiftly to assert the public’s rights to the lake and to lake access before the lake is marred by more houses or docks.

Except, of course, ours.

  • Cape Gazette editorials are considered and written by members of the Cape Gazette editorial board which includes Dennis Forney, publisher; Trish Vernon, editor; Dave Frederick, sports editor emeritus; Laura Ritter, news editor; Jen Ellingsworth, associate editor; and Nick Roth, sports editor.

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