During their meeting Nov. 19, Rehoboth Beach commissioners voted favorably on the majority of nine policy and ordinance amendments related to solid waste, recycling and yard waste. The three that didn’t pass include a change that would moved free bulk pickup to before Easter, a change that would have eliminated the use of trash bags and a change that would have pushed back the collection of loose leaves and pine needle back a month.
People just don’t come down before Easter to do their spring clean-outs, so the change would put the city’s homeowners at a real disadvantage, said Commissioner Susan Gay.
Her fellow commissioners agreed to deny the change recommended by staff, and the vote was unanimous to keep the bulk pickup as is – the last week of April, first week of May.
As for eliminating use of trash bags, Commissioner Jay Lagree said he had heard more negative feedback from this proposal than any other.
Public Works Director Kevin Williams said this proposed change was an esthetics issue, not a manpower issue. He said city staff regularly come across trash bags that have been picked open by animals.
The proposed change to revise the period for the collection of loose leaves and pine needles from Oct. 1-May 14 to Nov. 1-May 14 failed after three commissioner voted for, three against and one abstained.
Operational changes that were approved include moving the annual end date for twice-a-week pickup of refuse from Nov. 30 to Oct. 31; moving yard waste container and bag collection from first, third, and fifth Wednesdays to every other Wednesday; reorganizing loose-leaf pickup from Monday through Friday to Thursdays for the south side of Rehoboth and Fridays for the north side; and updating the fee for a yard waste container to the going rate.
Approved code amendments included removing the words metal and suitable handles from the definition of waste container; and establishing quarterly billing for residential collection.
Commissioner Toni Sharp, clearly frustrated with the city's lack of communication plans for letting constituents know about the changes, voted no on all the proposed changes.
Proposed changes to the fee structure of solid waste and recycling services were not included in these votes. Mayor Stan Mills said he expects the city to begin discussing those changes again during the Monday, Dec. 6 commissioner workshop.
Two of city’s legal issues progressing
Prior to making decisions on trash and recycling, City Solicitor Glenn Mandalas provided commissioners with a status update on two ongoing legal issues – BeachWalk and Clear Space Theatre.
In October, a Chancery Court judge ruled a 2016 ordinance in Rehoboth Beach codifying that only one building could be built on a lot shall apply in full to BeachWalk, a 63-unit condominium development on the Forgotten Mile section of Rehoboth Beach that was introduced in 2015.
Mandalas said a motion for reargument filed by the attorney representing BeachWalk has been rejected. The last option for the plaintiff is an appeal to Delaware Supreme Court, which has to be made in 30 days, he said.
In the Clear Space case, there’s a disagreement between the attorneys on what constitutes the record that needs to be submitted to the judge, said Mandalas. The judge has ordered oral arguments for Wednesday, Dec. 8, to decide what the record is, he said.
According to an Oct. 17 document submitted by Clear Space attorney Shawn Tucker, the city’s definition of the record is wrong because it doesn’t include the site plans submitted by Clear Space, doesn’t include the full docket of the case and doesn’t include the planning commission’s or Clear Space’s responses that were submitted in advance of a June hearing.
In an Oct. 19 response, Max Walton, the attorney representing the city, said the scope of the appeal is narrow, and an exploration of a complicated administrative record is simply not permitted on certiorari review.
Both of these documents can be found via search function at cityofrehoboth.civicweb.net/portal.
Maryland Avenue gingko tree saved
For a second time, a gingko tree in front of the house at 60 Maryland Ave. has been saved from the chopping block.
In March, the Rehoboth Beach Parks and Shade Tree Commission unanimously denied the tree’s removal. David Clarke, on behalf of Yavar Rzayev, owner of the property, filed an administrative appeal to city commissioners, who heard the case during the Nov. 19 commissioner meeting.
Clarke argued the tree is a nuisance because of the smelly fruit that drops from it. He said the owner is willing to pay for removal and replacement of the tree.
Multiple members of the public spoke against removal, saying a tree shouldn’t be removed for acting like a tree – dropping leaves, pine needles, acorns or fruit.
Prior to the vote, Mayor Stan Mills said Rehoboth is a tree city and has a responsibility to manage the trees.
Ultimately, by a 4-3 margin, commissioners voted to keep the tree.
Editor’s note: This story has been changed to reflect that the collection period for loose leaves and pine needles was not changed.