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Community has spoken out on Beach Walk

November 23, 2017

The following letter was sent to Rehoboth Beach Vice Mayor Stan Mills, with a copy submitted to the Cape Gazette for publication.
At their Oct. 20 meeting, Rehoboth Beach Commissioners voted to adjudicate an appeal submitted by the developers of the proposed Beach Walk project. In providing rationale for this decision, several commissioners stated they wanted to create an opportunity for greater "citizen input." While we appreciate this sentiment, and are eager to engage in the appeal process, we would like to stress that providing "citizen input" on the Beach Walk project will not be a new occurrence. Over the course of the last 18 months, many concerned citizens and organizations from across the city have been vocal in criticizing the project because the current plan would result in safety, high density and increased traffic concerns.
More specifically, Rehoboth residents have:
• Written letters to the Rehoboth Beach Mayor, Commissioners, Planning Commission and/or Board of Adjustment members
• Written Letters to the Editor of the Cape Gazette
• Met with or written letters to House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf, Sen. Ernie Lopez, Secretary Jennifer Cohan and other elected/appointed officials
• Written and submitted extensive impact studies to the planning commission examining the following areas of concern:
• Density and Impact on the Neighborhood: https://cityofrehoboth.civicweb.net/filepro/documents/9155
• Traffic: https://cityofrehoboth.civicweb.net/filepro/documents/9338
• Parking: https://cityofrehoboth.civicweb.net/filepro/documents/9325
• Sewage: https://cityofrehoboth.civicweb.net/filepro/documents/9245
• Environment and Natural Resources: https://cityofrehoboth.civicweb.net/filepro/documents/9071?preview=10074
• Legal question of condominium status; subdivision provision; and planning commission authority and other relevant issues: https://cityofrehoboth.civicweb.net/filepro/documents/9071?preview=9153
https://cityofrehoboth.civicweb.net/filepro/documents/8773?preview=8789
https://cityofrehoboth.civicweb.net/filepro/documents/8773?preview=8740
https://cityofrehoboth.civicweb.net/filepro/documents/8773?preview=9411
• Spoken at Rehoboth Beach Planning Commission and/or Board of Adjustment meetings.

In addition to these involvements, the vast majority of citizens from all three immediately adjacent streets - Silver Lane, Scarborough Avenue Extended and Terrace Road - have gone on record as opposing the project by signing and submitting petitions to the city. Copies of these petitions were submitted to the planning commission in 2016, and are available on the city's website (https://cityofrehoboth.civicweb.net/filepro/documents/8798).

A list of the individuals involved in these endeavors can be found at the end of this document.

While these actions demonstrate that a number of private individuals strongly oppose Beach Walk, several major citizen-based organizations have also opposed the project. Save Our Lakes Alliance 3, the Rehoboth Homeowners' Association and Rehoboth Neighbors United have all expressed concerns for the proposed development.

In the Nov. 14, 2016 edition, the Cape Gazette ran as a commentary a letter from SOLA3 and RBHA regarding the potential negative impact that Beach Walk would have on the natural environment and on the health, safety and welfare of the surrounding communities (http://www.capegazette.com/article/serious-concerns-raised-over-beach-walk/118931). Rehoboth Neighbors United has also devoted a major section of its website to the project, providing an overview of what's proposed and highlighting safety, traffic and other areas of concern (http://www.rehobothneighbors.org/).

Organizations and individuals from across the city have been saying no to Beach Walk loudly and clearly for some time. Since the precedent set by this project will lay the foundation for significant future land development within the city's boundaries (e.g., Walls' Apartments property), citizens clearly understand the importance of taking a stand against the density, traffic and safety problems the project will create. Additionally, they are strongly opposed to the developer's actions to avoid adhering to required regulations.

Finally, while not all explicitly expressing opposition to the proposed Beach Walk, nearly 60 Rehoboth Beach citizens have engaged in conversations regarding the project via the Rehoboth NextDoor application. The privacy policy of this application does not permit sharing of names, but the number of people participating in discussion of the Beach Walk proposal offers additional evidence of citizen engagement and concern.

So...while we look forward to providing input during the Beach Walk appeal process, we encourage you to carefully consider citizen participation to date and to examine citizen voices of record. We have not been silent in our opposition and wish to continue to be part of the process during your deliberations relative to Beach Walk moving forward.

Sandra Neverett
On behalf of Rehoboth Citizens for Responsible Growth

 

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