An April 11 deadline for Rehoboth commissioners to decide the city’s next step on the BeachWalk project is fast approaching. Before anything happens though, Rehoboth property owners have a chance to voice their opinion on the proposed development during a special commissioner meeting Monday, April 8.
In addition to public comment, the agenda for the meeting calls for a possible vote on an ordinance to “conclusively confirm” that ordinances passed in 2016, codifying that only one building could be built on a lot, apply to projects and applications pending as of the date of adoption.
BeachWalk, a proposed 63-unit-housing development to be built on the Rehoboth Beach Plaza shopping center site, was submitted to the city in the summer of 2015 as a condominium project, 63 units on one parcel of land. The planning commission and city commissioners both ruled that BeachWalk constituted a subdivision, since 58 of the 63 units were single-family homes.
Developer Keith Monigle disagreed, citing a board of adjustment ruling that overturned Building Inspector Dam Molina’s decision that no more than one structure can be built on a lot. The board ruled the section of code Molina relied on for his ruling, a footnote in the R-1(S) zoning code, was ambiguous.
City commissioners ruled BeachWalk was a subdivision in January 2018. Shortly afterward, Monigle took the matter to court; the city filed a motion to dismiss on the basis that BeachWalk did not comply with an ordinance passed in November 2016 codifying that only one building could be built on a lot. BeachWalk argued that the ordinance did not apply because the application was filed before the ordinance was passed.
Delaware Superior Court Judge E. Scott Bradley issued a ruling March 12 denying the city’s motion to dismiss in the case. Instead, Bradley, remanded the matter back to the city for further review.
The April 8 meeting is the second meeting commissioners have held since the judge’s decision. The first, March 25, was primarily an executive session that lasted more than an hour. The agenda called for a possible vote on the issue, but when the public portion of that meeting resumed, Commissioner Stan Mills said more discussion among the commissioners and a chance for public comment were needed.
Attorney Max Walton is representing the city. At the conclusion of the March 25 meeting, Walton said the city needed to make a decision about how to move forward by April 11. In an email March 27, Walton said he could not comment on what the city’s options are moving forward.
As of press deadline April 4, the city had posted more than two dozen letters from Rehoboth property owners; all of them urge the commissioners to appeal the judge’s decision.
Mills is overseeing the proceedings after Mayor Paul Kuhns recused himself.
“Time constraints disallowed opportunities for discussion among the commissioners as well as to receive public comment,” said Mills in an April 1 email. “The meeting on April 8 gives us ample time to resume business.”