Belhaven Hotel project heading back to Rehoboth planning

Commission expected to pass 2020 CDP on to city commissioners at May 4 meeting
May 3, 2022

Despite an ongoing appeal in Delaware Superior Court, the developers of the proposed Belhaven Hotel on the Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk have submitted paperwork to the city for a second site-plan review of their hotel.

City Building Inspector Matt Janis announced the submission of the plans for review during a planning commission meeting April 29. He said city departments were evaluating the plans and a planning commission meeting would be scheduled when it was determined the plans met certain requirements. He did not give a specific deadline.

First introduced by John Papajohn and his son Alex Papajohn in April 2019, the property for the proposed Belhaven Hotel looks a lot like the S-shaped tetromino from the video game Tetris. It has an address of 2 Rehoboth Ave., but also fronts the Boardwalk as far as the south side of Grotto Pizza; encompasses all the Rehoboth Avenue commercial space west to Go Fish; and stretches south to Wilmington Avenue.

The proposed hotel was granted a variance request by the board of adjustment in November allowing the project’s floor-to-area ratio to go from 2 to 3. The variance approval was appealed in February to Delaware Superior Court by Rehoboth Beach property owner Francis Market, who is arguing the board’s decision will negatively impact his health, safety and the general welfare of the community.

In an email April 29, Alex said they have submitted plans with a FAR of 3 and that, “our team is confident that the decision of the board of adjustment of the City of Rehoboth Beach will be upheld.”

During the meeting, Luke Mette, planning commission attorney, said not all the briefs related to the Belhaven appeal had been submitted and oral arguments had not yet been scheduled.

In other planning commission legal matters, Mette said the BeachWalk case in Delaware Supreme Court and the Clear Space case in Delaware Superior Court continue to be in holding patterns while briefs for those cases are also submitted.

Clear Space filed a lawsuit in August 2021 in Delaware Superior Court seeking to reverse the city commissioners’ reversal of the planning commission’s site-plan approval for a new theater home at 413, 415 and 417 Rehoboth Ave. Currently, the judge in the case is accepting briefs on what constitutes the record for the appeal. A hearing was held in early December on the issue.

BeachWalk is a 63-unit condominium development on the Forgotten Mile section of Rehoboth Beach that has been on the city’s radar since 2015.

In October, a Chancery Court judge ruled a 2016 ordinance codifying that only one building could be built on a lot shall apply in full to BeachWalk. Developer Keith Monigle’s last option for appeal was to the Delaware Supreme Court, which he did.

Commission expected to move 2020 CDP forward May 4

The planning commission is expected to move forward to city commissioners the city’s 2020 comprehensive development plan during a special meeting Tuesday, May 4.

The April 29 meeting was the second straight meeting with no members of the public commenting in person, virtually or in writing.

Planning members discussed a number of suggested changes that came from the state’s Preliminary Land Use Service. Those proposed changes will be presented as a redline version of the CDP during the May 4 meeting.

If approved by the planning commission at the May 4 meeting, city commissioners are expected to begin discussing the document during a special meeting Tuesday, May 17.


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