Rehoboth must act on preserving character

September 4, 2014

This letter has been sent to the Rehoboth Beach Mayor, Board of Commissioners, Planning Commission, City Manager and City Solicitor with a copy submitted to the Cape Gazette for publication.

As a full-time resident of Rehoboth Beach and specifically the second block of Laurel Street, we have spent many years carefully and lovingly remodeling our 1930s beach cottage into the home that blends into the traditional beach neighborhood which we call home today. We love our neighborhood and love our neighbors.

I am writing this letter, however as we are becoming increasingly alarmed by the rabid increase in gigantic homes with swimming pools that are replacing many of the traditional beach homes that have made up our neighborhoods.

We are alarmed for several reasons.

Firstly, we are very much aware of the disruption to daily life these mega rental properties have created. There is one such "motel" five houses away from us. It openly rents to 18 people and comes with a swimming pool.

There is pool noise at all hours of the day and night, that we can hear five doors away. We feel especially sorry for those living closer, especially for those whose once peaceful backyards are now sitting poolside to a gathering of the masses. That’s 18 people and all their friends who visit for a pool party. It is outrageous.

Secondly, other than maid service, we do not see how these residentially zoned "motels" differ from those in the commercial district. They are businesses. As anyone who reads realty advertisements will note, there is/was a property (again on Laurel St.) recently listed as having the potential as a seven bedroom, seven bath investment with swimming pool. We believe it has been sold. Great, another motel will be fast-tracked to be constructed on our block.

Thirdly, home values around these "motels" will certainly suffer. Who in their right mind would want to buy a home in the vicinity of one of the monstrosities? Not only are they noise machines but just eyesores with 18 bicycles, baby carriages, beach umbrellas, towels, shoes, trash and recycling cans etc., etc., littering the front yard because of lack of any spare inch of green space on which to properly store such items. And speaking of trash, do the owners of these properties pay the same trash rate as the rest of us even though they generate up to seven times the amount of trash?

Finally, of course we have the parking issue. The building code currently requires two parking spaces on site per property. Um let's see, where are those other seven cars going to park on a street where already the full time residents either stay home all summer or jockey their cars at 5 a.m., so if they dare to drive somewhere they can at least be assured their driveway will be open.

When will it end? I implore the mayor and commissioners who have vowed to work to keep the character of Rehoboth Beach secure, to place an immediate moratorium on new construction until the regulation of these out of character businesses is put in place and the threat of any future building of this type removed from our residential areas. We need this action to happen immediately.

After all, the planning commission requested a meeting be scheduled with the board of commissioners to discuss these exact issues. That request was made on June 20 and it is now the last week in August. I certainly hope we are not forced to sell our once peaceful cottage home, in our wonderful neighborhood, due to the neglect of the mayor and commissioners to act. Just think, if that happens, you can count on another motel and pool on Laurel St.

Dee Speck
Rehoboth Beach

  • A letter to the editor expresses a reader's opinion and, as such, is not reflective of the editorial opinions of this newspaper.

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