With the approval of a parking variance request, the ocean block of Baltimore Avenue in Rehoboth has moved one step closer to getting two more residential dwellings.
During a meeting Sept. 24, the Rehoboth Beach Board of Adjustment unanimously approved a variance request by 20 Baltimore Ave. property owner Gene Lankford to allow four parking spaces on a lot across the street at the Atlantic Sands. Lankford is looking to convert two commercial units into two residential dwellings, which city code requires to have two parking spots per dwelling.
This is the second time the property, commonly known as Celebration Mall, has been granted parking variances because Lankford has been able to provide parking within 700 feet. Those parking spots are across the street, in lots that Lankford is turning into a new hotel.
Before voting in favor of the variance, board Chair Tom Evans said he wanted to make sure there would be enough parking for all four residential units at the Atlantic Sands before, during and after construction of the hotel. Representing Lankford was his grandson-in-law Carlton Savage of Scaled Engineering. He said there would be the required parking throughout the duration of construction.
This is not the last time Lankford will have to get a variance from the board for the conversion. During the meeting, it was brought up the future residential dwellings didn’t meet the 5,000-square-foot per dwelling threshold. Evans said the board couldn’t vote on the matter because it wasn’t on the published agenda.
The board also heard variance requests from Thomas DePrince, the property owner of 46 Baltimore Ave. Representing DePrince was attorney Harold Dukes, who said DePrince was looking to preserve the historic nature of the beach cottage.
The board unanimously approved one request to legalize an existing nonconforming dwelling which does not meet the minimum number of 5,000 square feet per dwelling unit. However, the board denied a request, by a 2-2 vote, asking to lift the off-street parking requirement. There are two residential units on the property, which would have required four spots.
Evans and Jerry Capone voted in favor, while Linda Kauffman and Doug Popham voted against. Kauffman said as much as she wanted to vote in favor of the parking variance, she said granting it would only compound the parking issue in town.
The meeting was the last one for Evans and board solicitor Craig Karsnitz. Between the two men there was 54 years of experience – 22 for Evans, 32 for Karsnitz.
Before the close of the meeting, the board voted unanimously in favor of naming Capone the new chair. Fred Townsend, of Dover law firm Hudson, Jones, Jaywork and Fisher, will replace Karsnitz, who was nominated to be a Sussex County Superior Court judge by Gov. John Carney.