Rehoboth planners set course for Baymart review

Scrutiny of 63-unit development could take months
November 23, 2015

The Rehoboth Beach Planning Commission is about to embark on its site-plan review of the proposed Beachwalk development.

“This is going to be one of the most difficult processes we’ve had to undertake, because of its pure size,” Chairman David Mellen said.

The Beachwalk project is a 63-unit development to be built at the Rehoboth Beach Plaza shopping center on Route 1, a parcel frequently referred to as Baymart. Plans for the development call for 58 single-family units and one building with five units on the 7.75-acre parcel. The property is zoned C-1 commercial, which allows for residential uses. Commercial zoning also allows for all units to be built on a single parcel, meaning the owners of individual  units would not own the land.

The plan also calls for a 20-foot wide driveway – similar to a cart path – only half the width of the minimum size of a city street.

Beachwalk is not a subdivision, but because it is a large proposed development, it falls under the purview of the city’s site-plan review ordinance. This allows the planning commission to review plans, impose conditions or suggest changes to protect the health, safety and welfare of Rehoboth citizens. The commission is authorized to examine setbacks and effects of the plan on trees and roadways.

At the commission’s Nov. 13 hearing, Mellen recommended the commission members not discuss the case outside of the commission.

He said he wanted all discussion of the project to take place within the confines of a public forum, with no email chatter by commission members in order to not run afoul of Freedom of Information Act rules.

Like school students at the first day of class, the commission received their books Nov. 13. While these books were not exactly “War and Peace,” they were similar in size and length.

The size of the project was evident in the enormous wrapped binder and booklet the commission members received, which include drawings, plans and details of the development. Former Chairman Preston Littleton mentioned the Baymart property as one of the largest potential residential development sites still left in the city during the 2010 comprehensive development plan review.

Although he did not provide a timeline, Mellen described the process of reviewing the application as one that would take place over the coming months.

The commission had planned to hold its discussion on the project at its Friday, Dec. 11 meeting but it has been postponed. Mellen did not know when the matter would be rescheduled. He said design concerns related to the project had not been totally resolved, and the building and licensing department wished to sort those concerns out before going to the planners.


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