Rehoboth Beach’s annual four-month moratorium on demolitions ends Friday, Sept. 15, and work is set to resume with one of the more highly anticipated demolitions in recent memory – the Rehoboth Beach Patrol headquarters and comfort station on the Boardwalk end of Baltimore Avenue.
In advance of the building’s removal, the city issued a demolition notice Aug. 18 for a one-story comfort station building at 99 North Boardwalk. The city is not allowed to demolish the building before Monday, Sept. 18.
The Rehoboth Beach Patrol’s website says the address for its headquarters is 1 Baltimore Ave., which is also the address for the Atlantic Sands Hotel. However, Chief Building Inspector Matt Janis confirmed that the notice was in fact for the building that houses the beach patrol.
“Our records show that it is actually 99 North Boardwalk. I did confirm this with our GIS and IT that keep the records on this,” said Janis in an email Aug. 21.
When asked for further clarification on the address, Lynne Coan, city spokesperson, said the city isn’t sure why the beach patrol building has a Boardwalk address rather than a Baltimore Avenue address. It was set many years ago, she said in an email Aug. 23.
The current beach patrol facility was built in 1987.
Beach patrol/comfort station project details
City commissioners awarded a $4.9 million contract to construct the new beach patrol/comfort station during a meeting Aug. 18. The following is a list of information that wasn’t discussed at the meeting, but provided afterward by Coan and Payton Bridge, a senior architect with city contractor Davis, Bowen & Friedel.
The total enclosed building square footage is approximately 5,500 square feet.
The primary building footprint is 36-feet wide, north to south, 61-feet-8-inches deep, east to west. On the side facing Baltimore Avenue, the overall total width is 48 feet, because of 6-foot-wide wings on the north and south sides. On the side facing the Boardwalk, the overall width is 55-feet-4-inches, because there are two ATV garages.
The building height will be 34 feet, from the first-floor finished floor level to the tallest roof peak. The height from the Baltimore Avenue street level will be approximately 32-feet-4-inches; the height from the Boardwalk to the highest roof peak will be approximately 37-feet-6-inches.
With covered outside areas under the deck, the deck, and roof overhangs included per floor-to-area ratio, the total applicable gross square footage would be approximately 8,000 square feet. However, the building is not on a lot, but in the city’s Open Space District Zone O-1, which consists of all of the city’s streets and rights of way; for this reason, there is no definitive lot area for applying the FAR. Bridge said Janis confirmed that since there is no zoning district, no zoning review was required to be conducted.
The project didn’t go before the planning commission because it was reviewed by the city commissioners several times.
There is no anticipated need to close the Boardwalk; the expectation is that it should remain open. The city will work with the contractor to install security/safety fencing along the edge of the Boardwalk or as close to the edge as possible.
The project requires obtaining an application for construction letter of approval from Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. The application has been submitted, and the final letter of approval is expected to be received any day now.
Approval of the Office of the State Fire Marshal also has been secured.
There will be a limited crew of lifeguards working through Sunday, Sept 24, and they will meet at city hall when necessary.
The city is discussing where the lifeguards will be stationed next year, but no decision has been made yet.
Memorabilia has begun to be removed from the building walls. These items will be stored and are expected to be rehung when the new facility opens.
Project costs of $2.25 million were included in the current fiscal year budget. The remaining amount will be detailed in the Fiscal Year 2025 budget.
One other demolition noticed
The beach patrol building wasn’t the first demolition permit issued by the city in anticipation of the moratorium’s ending. The owners of 4 Norfolk St. submitted an application April 17, but city code doesn’t allow for demolitions to take place until after 30 days have passed since the permit was issued. Even if the city had turned the application around in less than 24 hours, and issued it April 18, the 30-day required waiting period would have ended after the May 15 start of the annual moratorium.
In the end, the city issued a permit Aug. 15 to demolish a one-story accessory structure on the property.
Permits issued annually since April 2012:
- 2012: 14
- 2013: 15
- 2014: 23
- 2015: 23
- 2016: 30
- 2017: 30
- 2018: 27
- 2019: 34
- 2020: 32
- 2021: 23
- 2022: 16
- 2023: 8, through Aug. 18
Permits issued by month since April 2012:
- January – 23
- February – 20
- March – 31
- April – 12
- May – 6
- June – 3
- July – 9
- August – 59
- September – 35
- October – 37
- November – 23
- December – 17