Rehoboth’s candidates generally agree on most issues

CAMP Rehoboth, homeowners association host July 17 annual forum; city election Aug. 14
July 23, 2021

Story Location:
CAMP Rehoboth
37 Baltimore Avenue
Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971
United States

Rehoboth Beach voters recently got a chance to hear from the candidates for the city’s upcoming election, and based on the answers, it appears the candidates are basically all on the same page regarding most issues.

There are four candidates for this year’s election – newcomer Tim Bennett, incumbent Commissioner Richard Byrne, Planning Commissioner Rachel Macha and former Commissioner Toni Sharp. Sitting Commissioner Pat Coluzzi, elected in 2018, is not running for re-election.

A forum was held July 17, hosted by the Rehoboth Beach Homeowners’ Association and CAMP Rehoboth in CAMP’s auditorium on Baltimore Avenue. President Mark Saunders of the homeowners association and CAMP Rehoboth Executive Director David Mariner conducted the forum. The candidates were asked eight questions, with topics ranging from parking to defining local flavor and how to keep it in Rehoboth Beach.

All four candidates agree there’s an ongoing parking issue.

“If we weren’t talking about parking, I don’t know what we’d be talking about,” said Sharp, adding that she would dust off the now-defunct parking committee’s recommendations from a few years ago and start there.

Macha said the city missed an opportunity to address the issue when the new city hall was built. That was the time to build a parking garage, she said.

Bennett said the parking rules in Rehoboth are confusing and should be made much clearer.

Byrne said the city has installed new meters, making it easier to pay, but there are sometimes problems with being able to park right in front of the business a person wants to go to. However, he said, there are parking spaces if a person gets off the main drag and is willing to walk a bit.

On the heels of Clear Space Theatre Company's ongoing issues, all four candidates agree the planning commission approval process needs to be reviewed and changes made.

Macha said she’s happy to see that the city is moving forward with hiring a city planner. She said she has some concerns that the planner will be overwhelmed soon into their tenure because of all the demands they’ll face.

All four candidates recognize there’s a need to help retain and attract seasonal workers for the city’s businesses.

Byrne said efforts have been made to provide free parking for employees at the Rehoboth Elementary School parking lot. Macha said it might be time to explore the idea of host housing, while Bennett said figuring out a way to possibly subsidize employers or employees could work.

All four candidates are in favor of beautifying the Baltimore and Wilmington avenue areas of the city, and are pleased the city’s task force has taken on that challenge.

The one issue over which one candidate stood apart from the other three concerned proposed mandatory recycling. Commissioners are considering instituting mandatory recycling for all residential properties at a cost of $135 per year. 

Bennett, Byrne and Macha said they support the proposed mandate. Each said they thought the charge was nominal and recycling was good for the whole community.

Sharp said she was in favor of recycling, but she was concerned that one of the two things property owners get from the city for paying their taxes – parking passes being the other – was on the chopping block. Recycling is currently done in Rehoboth on a voluntary basis, free of charge.

The commissioners should be sharpening their pencils to see if there’s a way to continue both of those services for free, she said.

The non-issue separating the candidates is city commissioner experience – Byrne and Sharp have it; Bennett and Macha don’t. Byrne talked up his accomplishments, with the help of fellow commissioners, over the last three years. Sharp talked about her accomplishments during her previous stint as a commissioner. Macha, who ran for office last year, has been on the front lines regarding many of the large redevelopment projects coming before the planning commission recently. Bennett is a political newcomer to Rehoboth Beach who said he’s been denied the opportunity to participate at the committee level, so he’s been watching every town commissioner and committee meeting he can over the past year. 

The 90-minute-long forum can be watched in full on CAMP Rehoboth’s Facebook page.

Election information

Rehoboth Beach’s 2021 municipal election will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 14, in the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center, 229 Rehoboth Ave. To be eligible to vote, a person had to register by July 15.

Absentee ballots are now available and will be sent to everyone who has an absentee ballot request form on file. The deadline for the city to mail ballots is Tuesday, Aug. 10. Any qualified elector may request an absentee ballot to vote by filing a request for an absentee ballot form no later than noon, Friday, Aug. 13. Ballots must be received by mail or in person before the polls close on the day of the election.

For more election information, contact Donna Moore at 302-227-6181, Ext. 108, or go to

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