It used to be the ghost-town feel of Rehoboth Avenue after Labor Day that signaled the end of summer in Rehoboth Beach. Now, with the tourist season pushing well into October, there’s a different kind of cue: the annual issuance of August demolition permits.
In a period of 11 days, from Aug. 16 to Aug. 26, the city issued 12 demolition permits for residential properties throughout the city – 216 Norfolk St., 303 Scarborough Ave., 601 Scarborough Ave., 120 Hickman St., 500 Bayard Ave., 500 King Charles Ave., 114 Laurel St., 4 Country Club Dr., 305 Munson St., 102 Laurel St., 55 Sussex St. and 32 Park Ave. The majority of those properties, 10 out of 12, are found south of Rehoboth Avenue, between Munson and Norfolk streets. Three of the properties – Hickman, Bayard and King Charles – have different addresses, but share the same street, because two of the properties are on the corner of Hickman.
Per city code, every year from May 15 to Sept. 15, Rehoboth has a moratorium on demolitions of any building that is 750 square feet or larger and/or has a connection to the city water or sewer lines.
The majority of the permits – Norfolk, 114 Laurel, King Charles, Hickman and Bayard – call for a two-story, single-family dwellings to be demolished. Four of the permits – 303 Scarborough, Sussex, Park and 102 Laurel – call for a two-story dwelling and accessory structure. Two permits – 601 Scarborough and 305 Munson – call for a one-story, single-family dwelling. The house on Country Club Drive is the only one for a one-story single-family dwelling and an accessory structure. None of the 12 demolitions can begin prior to Thursday, Sept. 19.
According to information provided to the Cape Gazette from the city earlier this year, since at least 2012 and including the 12 in 2019, the city has issued more demolition permits in August than any other month, with 42. The next two busiest months are September, with 23, and October, with 22.
The majority of those August demolitions have come in the past three years. The city issued nine demolition permits in August 2017 and eight in August 2018. The August 2017 total was the previous high amount for any one month.
The most notable demolition this year was the 16 cottages of the historic Walls’ Apartments in April. The Lingo family and real estate company purchased Walls’ Apartments in March 2014. At the time of demolition, Bryce Lingo said the plan is to put single-family residences on the property.
The issuance of demolition permits this year doesn’t include Rehoboth Elementary School, where the school’s single-story building was demolished earlier this summer. The larger Rehoboth Elementary building, the former Rehoboth High School, is scheduled to be demolished after asbestos is removed in late fall.
Permits issued annually, since April 2012:
- 2012: 14
- 2013: 15
- 2014: 23
- 2015: 23
- 2016: 30
- 2017: 30
- 2018: 27
- 2019: 22, through Aug. 26
Permits issued by month, April 2012 – Aug. 26, 2019:
- January – 16
- February – 8
- March – 22
- April – 8
- May – 6
- June – 3
- July – 9
- August – 42
- September – 23
- October – 22
- November – 14
- December – 11