Ferry music request deserves approval

April 11, 2014

Many years ago, Lewes instituted an enlightened planning ap­proach that depended on a set of core values to help guide decision-making in the community. These were values that helped define characteristics of the community that residents didn’t want to lose through the onward march of time.

Among them were its longstanding relation­ship with the sea, its sense of the importance of its long history, and its desire to be a town of busy days and quiet nights.

A request before the state’s Office of Alco­holic Beverage Control Commissioner by the Delaware River and Bay Authority to allow music on the outdoor patio at the Cape May-Lewes Ferry terminal is testing the final core value mentioned here. Residents in nearby Port Lewes oppose the ferry request, saying the music played there - without a permit in previous years - disturbs their peace and quiet.

Ferry authorities say they will position the speakers for the live music to be as unobtru­sive as possible, will monitor the sound with decibel meters to keep the levels reasonable, and will allow no outdoor music to be played after 8:30 p.m. It’s this last condition that al­lows the ferry request to conform with the city of Lewes’ busy days and quiet nights core value.

Most of us equate night with darkness. For most of the time that live music would even make sense for the outside patio venue - in the warmer months - darkness comes after 8:30.

If it’s found that the 8:30 curfew doesn’t keep the outdoor music within the hours of light, the condition could be changed to specify that the music would have to be sus­pended either by 8:30 or by dark, whichever comes earlier.

Ferry officials are being reasonable in their request and are demonstrating their willing­ness to be good neighbors. The request clearly does not violate the busy days and quiet nights core value.

That should guide this decision toward ap­proval of the request.

  • Editorials are considered by the editorial board and written by Laura Ritter, news editor, and Dennis Forney, publisher, with occasional contributions from other board members: Trish Vernon, editor; Dave Frederick, sports editor emeritus; Jen Ellingsworth, associate editor; Nick Roth, sports editor; and Chris Rausch, associate publisher.