Although some neighbors raised environmental and aesthetic concerns, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has approved a 20-boat marina along Lewes-Rehoboth Canal.
DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin approved the project in an order Oct. 17. DNREC experts concluded building the proposed facility, dredging, shoreline stabilization and stormwater outfalls comply with regulations, Garvin said.
The marina will be south of the Route 1 bridge that crosses the canal outside Rehoboth Beach. The property is owned and managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, but the applicant is Oyster House Village DE LLC, owner and developer of the proposed Oyster House Village, a residential community of 30 single-family houses west of the proposed marina.
The permit has been issued to applicant Sunrise Ventures LLC, but the name will change to Oyster House Village DE LLC once a final transfer of property has occurred. The marina will be built on the site of a now defunct oyster-processing plant. Old, decaying docks remain from its past commercial use.
The application for the marina was originally submitted to DNREC in April 2018. Shortly afterward, in June 2018, there was a meeting with Bay Harbor Homeowners Association, a representative of the applicant and DNREC.
As a result of the 2018 meeting, Garvin said the applicant modified the original proposal by reducing the length of the dock by 48 feet, reducing the length of the riprap by 135 feet, relocating a DNREC dredging operation, adding riprap for two stormwater outfall aprons, removing 37 cubic yards of material to be dredged and finding a new disposal location to eliminate concerns associated with the property, which is a brownfield site. Moving the DNREC dredging operation keeps open an unimproved boat ramp for public use of the canal.
“It should be noted that the modifications were made by the applicant prior to the public hearing held on this matter on May 28, 2019, and were thus able to be fully vetted to the public at the time of the hearing,” said Garvin.
According to the order, potential sources of contamination have been minimized by providing a sewage pumpout system, not providing fueling facilities and not allowing major vessel maintenance work.
The developer plans to stabilize the shoreline in three separate areas by installing 335 linear feet of riprap and 76 linear feet of bulkhead.
The plans also call for two stormwater outfall pipes and dredging 263 cubic yards of material from the canal. The dredged material is to be disposed of at a borrow pit disposal area in Dagsboro.
No portion of the proposed docking facility will encroach within the 10-foot-wide buffer of the 55-foot-wide federal navigation channel.
A positive, said Garvin, is the applicant has applied for one structure to serve the entire community instead of multiple structures for the single-family homes.
A special condition has been included that will require separate authorization from the state for any expansion or alteration of the approved plans. This includes minor modifications, floating structures and any variation altering the footprint of the approved marina.
“The department recognizes there are concerns associated with this project, but has balanced those concerns,” said Garvin.