The Rehoboth Beach Planning Commission had asked the developer of the proposed BeachWalk whether he was going to go along with the commission’s ruling that the project is a major subdivision.
The answer from BeachWalk developer Keith Monigle? Nah.
Without his attorney, Dennis Schrader, present, Monigle told the commission Dec. 9 that he would not apply as a major subdivision. He said he wishes to resume site-plan review of his project as a condominium. The commission asked Monigle at least five times whether he was sure that’s what he wanted to do. Chairman David Mellen said the commission will resume discussion of the application at its Friday, Jan. 13 meeting, although Mellen would not say how the commission will proceed.
The BeachWalk project is a proposed 63-unit development consisting of 58 single-family detached homes and five multi-family units with two 20-foot cart paths serving as the main access roads. The development was submitted as a condominium development and not a major subdivision, which has strict guidelines on street size, setbacks and open space.
The project drew opposition from the get-go. Residents on nearby Terrace Road support efforts to redevelop the current Rehoboth Beach Plaza shopping center, but they oppose BeachWalk because of its high density, increased traffic and safety concerns. The Rehoboth fire and police departments, Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach and Sen. Ernie Lopez, R-Lewes, opposed a plan to close off access to the 7.75-acre parcel from Route 1, which would have required southbound traffic to make a U-turn on Route 1.
In October, the planners unanimously deemed BeachWalk a major subdivision but tabled the application to give Schrader and Monigle 30 days to decide how they wished to proceed.
At the Dec. 9 meeting, Mellen said there had been no communication from Schrader and no application for a major subdivision was filed.
Commissioner Harvey Shulman read excerpts of three letters submitted by Schrader that gave no indication of how he would answer the question of a major subdivision, instead saying Beach Walk wanted the commission to proceed with the site-plan review.
“They did not tell us as we asked them when and if they are going to file a subdivision application,” Shulman said.
He said Schrader sent another letter criticizing the planning commission for delaying the project, but Schulman said delays in the schedule have been caused by a number of factors that had nothing to do with the planning commission and that some delays were requested by Schrader.
“We have been moving expeditiously all along to make this happen, and all we need now is some cooperation from the applicant to tell us, ‘Are you going to file a major subdivision application?’” Shulman said. “We are not the ones holding this up.”
Monigle said, “We have no intention at this time of filing for a major subdivision.”
When Shulman said Monigle’s lawyer had never told the commission in writing of their intention not to submit a major subdivision application, Monigle said, “Do we have to do that? We paid for a site plan review.”
Monigle said at the commission’s August meeting, his side was denied a formal presentation that would respond to many questions raised by the public. Schrader was allowed to make a short, formal overview of the project at the August meeting, but not a full-length presentation.
“Everyone else in town has been able to speak about what they like and they dislike about the project as often and as much as they have. So far, we’ve spoken for about 10 minutes,” Monigle said.
Shulman asked whether BeachWalk intends to make an end run around the planners to get the requisite approvals, by which the project would go to the building inspector for a building permit, be turned down and then appeal to the board of adjustment.