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Proposed BeachWalk not responsible development

January 11, 2018

I own a house within the City of Rehoboth Beach on Scarborough Avenue Extended directly adjacent to the Ocean Bay Mart Shopping Center that sits on 7.7 acres of land on the southern edge of the city in the Forgotten Mile.

From my backyard perspective Bay Mart is currently a vast parking lot with weeds, boat trailers and buildings of rust-stained cement block. I have looked forward to its conversion into a new residential development. I support Mr. Monigle in his desire to develop Bay Mart.

However, rather than subdivide the land and meet subdivision standards, the owner/developer (Ocean Bay Mart LLC) has proposed to build 58 single-family houses and five multi-family townhouse units.

The current plan for the Bay Mart property is not smart. The proposed BeachWalk development attempts to make an end-run around the city's zoning code. The developer hopes to avoid the residential standards that would normally apply to single-family houses in the city.

In its current conception, the streets in this proposed development are so narrow that there is no on-street parking. There are only two parking spaces for each large five- to six-bedroom home. There is no parking for the multitude of vacationing guests who might visit these homes.

There seems barely space for large trucks and vans to pass, let alone for these vehicles to stop to service homes. With no sidewalks, pedestrians, bicycles and cars will all share the same narrow streets. Where are these frustrated visitors expected to park?

In the entire 7.7-acre parcel, there seems no plan for the community green spaces or shade trees which Rehoboth encourages with all new residential development. With back and side yards only 10 feet wide, this is a dense collection of homes. There is no provision for the beauty of common green space which could be a potential trade-off for buildings spaced so closely together.

Poorly conceived developments are ripe for failure. If new homeowners are frustrated by access, density and parking, disenchantment can ensue. Instead of a project with robust sales and proud owners, a poorly maintained development results.

I am hopeful that Mr. Monigle and the community can work together to produce a development which benefits everyone. However, this development as currently proposed provides no benefit to the community and particularly the neighborhoods surrounding the development.

I ask that Rehoboth Beach commissioners support the planning commission's decision, enforce the city ordinance, and require the same responsible development standards of BeachWalk as would be placed on any large residential subdivision of like size and scale. The proposed project is a major subdivision and, to proceed with the project, the developer must submit the required subdivision application.

Failure to do so presents undue risk to the safety and welfare of local residents, imposes unnecessary burdens on the community and threatens the future of Rehoboth Beach by setting a negative precedent for other development within the city.

Jon Worthington
Rehoboth Beach

 

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