Rehoboth's projects should be reviewed

October 6, 2023

Rehoboth Beach Commissioner Toni Sharp summed it up perfectly: “This is a hot mess.” 

An approved project to construct a building to house Rehoboth Beach Patrol and a new restroom facility on Baltimore Avenue is now on hold as the City of Rehoboth Beach works through a procedural issue raised by an anonymous person who threatened a lawsuit.

Demolition of the existing structure along the Boardwalk was supposed to have already begun, but it is now delayed. With a contract already awarded, the city may lose up to $1,000 every day the project is postponed. 

The hiccup occurred as the city was attempting to legally abandon about 65 feet of Baltimore Avenue, most of which will be used for the new, larger building. A few days before a commissioners’ public hearing, city officials were alerted to a state law that requires the matter to be first considered by the planning commission. Rather than hold the hearing Sept. 29, commissioners forwarded the issue to the planning commission, as required, further delaying the project start. 

Due to these delays, the new bathrooms – the northernmost on the Boardwalk – are not expected to be open in time for next summer, and temporary facilities are likely. 

There’s plenty of blame to go around for how the city got here. The good news is, the planning commission is meeting a week early this month, Friday, Oct. 6. The planning commission should review the abandonment with due diligence, but the requested report should be completed in one meeting and forwarded to city commissioners so the project, which has little to no public opposition, can move forward.

Months ago, city commissioners asked the planning commission to evaluate the city’s site-plan review process. The commission will discuss that topic again following consideration of the Baltimore Avenue abandonment. We believe the city’s own construction projects should also undergo site-plan review. Even with this additional layer of oversight, it’s impossible to know if the charter and state code issues would have been caught by the planning commission. However, including this review on city projects would help ensure that messes like this don't happen in the future.


  • Editorials are considered and written by Cape Gazette Editorial Board members, including Publisher Chris Rausch, Editor Jen Ellingsworth, News Editor Nick Roth and reporters Ron MacArthur and Chris Flood. 

Subscribe to the Daily Newsletter