On music, ferry shouldn't break the law

April 24, 2014

I am writing with regard to the ferry authority’s request for a variance to play amplified music outside adjacent to residences on either side of the ferry location for an unspecified number of early evenings during the summer months. Those of us who are affected by this issue believe that the Lewes community deserves to have the facts alongside of the Gazette’s stated opinion that the music should be allowed.

The City of Lewes has an existing ordinance that precludes playing amplified music outside. The ferry terminal is located on town-owned (leased) land and hence is subject to the same rules as everyone else in Lewes. What the ferry did for some period of time was break the rules. In fact, the ferry broke the rules regarding playing amplified music after a similar 2001 request for a variance was withdrawn due to intense opposition. Now, caught in the act, the ferry authority wants the ABC Commissioner to make it ok.

This is an interesting request because it would seem that the town ordinance precludes what the ferry wants to do. Since the ferry can do it, it would seem that anyone else who wants to play amplified music outside should also be able to do so. Maybe Lewes has a new era ahead as Dewey Beach North.

Is it because it is the ferry that is asking that the Gazette editors feel that it is ok to wink at the existing rules? The Gazette editorial goes on to suggest that “aw shucks” what the big deal—it’s just a bit of music during the early evening. What are those annoying summer people at Port Lewes complaining about?

Think for a moment how you would feel about listening to someone else’s music four or more evenings a week during the height of the summer. Most of us don’t mind a party next door once in a while. But this isn’t once in a while. This is most late afternoons into evening during the summer season. The disruption nearby that neighbors experienced last summer when the ferry began its outdoor music four times per week was nothing less than mind-numbing.

Our tranquility was disrupted and our young children were kept awake. Please consider what this suggests not only for those who have homes near the ferry but for all of Lewes. All places change and we’ve seen many positive changes in our town over the nearly 30 years we’ve owned our home there. But let’s retain the tranquility that characterizes Lewes and is part of our heritage—now and for the future.

Donna L. Sorkin


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