The Rehoboth Beach Planning Commission has rejected the proposed 63-unit BeachWalk development, but the project is far from dead.
The commission is allowing developer Keith Monigle and his attorney, Dennis Schrader, 60 days to reapply as a major subdivision or appeal the commission’s ruling to the city commissioners or to a court. Schrader told the commission Jan. 13 that he would not need 60 days to make a decision, but Chairman David Mellen said the commission provided 60 days because it will not meet again until March.
When the commission did not formally deny the project, Schrader asked if this is their final decision. City Solicitor Glenn Mandalas said BeachWalk’s application is not denied, but if BeachWalk does not file for a major subdivision in 60 days, the application will be considered failed, and the commission will not proceed further; BeachWalk can pursue appeals. Should Monigle change his mind and file a major subdivision, he would get another 30 days to file the appropriate paperwork.
In the past, Monigle and Schrader both complained that they had never had the chance to give a formal presentation of BeachWalk plans. However, when pressed by the commission on whether there was any new information in a presentation that was not already in the 500-plus pages of documents submitted to building and licensing, Schrader said there was not.
Commissioner Brian Patterson made a motion to untable the application and hear the presentation and then retable the application, but that motion failed 8-1, with only Commissioner Mike Strange voting in favor and Patterson voting against his own motion.
“There’s been no wiggle room offered on filing a major subdivision,” Mellen said.
Typically, the next step after a rejection by the planning commission is an appeal to the city commissioners, and if rejected there, the next option would be the courts.
Located at the site of Rehoboth Beach Plaza shopping center, BeachWalk was proposed as a condominium development with 58-single family homes and five multi-family units; developers were seeking site plan review. At an August review of BeachWalk’s application, the proposal was met with opposition by property owners on nearby Terrace Road, who decried the development’s size and raised concerns about traffic and safety. Skepticism was also expressed by the Rehoboth police and fire departments over the proposal’s narrow, 20-foot wide streets and a proposal to close access to the property from Route 1, which would force southbound Route 1 traffic to make a U-turn and complicate access for emergency vehicles. The planning commission ruled the proposal’s design and density constituted a major subdivision and as a result would have to conform to subdivision road and lot setback requirements.
The planners gave Monigle and Schrader until December to decided how to proceed, and on Dec. 9, Monigle told the planners he would not be applying as a major subdivision, a position Schrader reiterated repeatedly a month later.