After nearly five years of litigation, and with all legal avenues of appeal exhausted, the BeachWalk case in Rehoboth Beach has finally come to a close.
In September, the Delaware Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s ruling that Ocean Bay Mart LLC did not have vested rights for its proposed 63-unit development, known as BeachWalk, to be considered as a condominium and that the development would have to go through Rehoboth Beach’s major subdivision process.
At the time, city officials were hopeful the ruling would mark the end of litigation, but that wasn’t the case. A few months later, in early November, attorney Richard Forsten, representing Ocean Bay Mart LLC’s Keith Monigle, filed a motion for reargument, saying the Supreme Court’s opinion ignored the statutory role played by the Rehoboth Beach Board of Adjustment and the legal significance of the board’s final and unappealed decision.
At the request of Commissioner Toni Sharp, City Solicitor Glenn Mandalas provided an update on the case during a commissioner workshop Jan. 9. The case is done and closed out in every court because the time to file appeals has expired, Mandalas said.
“That property sits as it sits now, and to the extent it’s going to be developed, the owner would need to come in with a new application proposing any form of development and it would have to go through the regular process Rehoboth Beach undertakes to approve development projects,” said Mandalas.
Following the meeting, Mandalas said the motion for reargument before the state’s Supreme Court was denied Nov. 21. There was an option for the plaintiff to seek certiorari review by the U.S. Supreme Court, but that did not happen, he said.
The city may have won the case, but it wasn’t cheap. Lynne Coan, city spokesperson, said the city has spent nearly $725,000 on legal expenses related to the case since 2017. As is true in most cases, litigants are responsible for their own legal expenses, which means the city is responsible for these legal expenses, she said.
As of now, the future for the large piece of commercial property in the Forgotten Mile is unknown. Coan said the city has received an unrelated application from someone who is interested in occupying one of the tenant spaces, but as of Jan. 11, nothing had been submitted by Monigle to the city for the overall development of the property.
Representatives from Ocean Bay Mart could not be reached for comment.
New city manager introduced to the public
Laurence Christian, Rehoboth Beach’s new city manager, was officially introduced to the public during the meeting. His first official day was Dec. 30. Christian is replacing former City Manager Sharon Lynn, who left the city in May after eight years.