The proposed BeachWalk development has been a thorn in the side of Rehoboth officials for years now, and after voting in favor of enforcing an ordinance that retroactively applies to the development, it appears they don’t think it’s going away anytime soon.
During a special meeting May 17, city commissioners voted unanimously in favor of enforcing an ordinance created in 2017 that applies to all pending and future applications and an ordinance created in 2016 codifying that only one building could be built on a lot.
Developer Kevin Monigle, operating under Ocean Bay Mart, is seeking to build 63 residential units on a 7.75-acre parcel off Route 1, currently operating as the Rehoboth Beach Plaza shopping center. Consisting of 58 single-family homes and five apartment-style units, lots in the development would not be subdivided; houses would be constructed on a single lot. The redevelopment project was first proposed in 2015.
A number of the commissioners acknowledged a level of financial risk for the city if they voted to move forward with the ordinance, but said it was in the best interest of the city.
In an email May 19, Commissioner Stan Mills, who is the commissioner running the proceedings related to BeachWalk because Mayor Paul Kuhns has recused himself, said the financial risk discussed meant the potential for additional litigation and additional attorney fees. As of about a month ago, said Mills, the city had spent approximately $128,000 on attorney’s fees.
“I believe the governmental interest and benefit in supporting the appeal, and in adopting the proposed clarifying ordinance validates pursuing the two paths forward that were supported by the commissioners,” Mills said.
The recent vote was the second action taken by the commissioners on the proposed development in the last two months.
In April, commissioners voted in favor of moving forward with an appeal of Superior Court Judge E. Scott Bradley’s decision to deny the city’s motion to dismiss a case filed by Monigle.
Attorney Eric Hacker is representing the developer. He was in attendance at the special meeting, but he left before the commissioner vote and could not be reached for comment following their decision.
After the meeting, attorney Max Walton, who is representing the city in this case because City Solicitor Glenn Mandalas is representing the planning commission, said at this point, there’s nothing else to do but wait. Walton said he hadn’t heard any news on the city’s appeal.