Rehoboth’s parking ordinance is inadequate

January 28, 2022

This letter was sent to the City of Rehoboth with a copy sent to the Cape Gazette for publication. 

This is further to your proposed amendments to the Parking Ordinance, Section 92-249 Unattended Motor Vehicles. 

As background for people who did not see my earlier email, I am a full-time resident on the south side of the city; I am frequently deprived of the parking space in front of my residence. It is frustrating to be unable to put my car there when we are hosting guests for the day or a weekend stay. Because we are convenient to the shops and restaurants in the business district, employees and patrons are frequent users of the spaces along my street. While this practice is frustrating, it does not compare to the aggravation caused by people who use the space as a vacation parking place. It is a common sight to see two cars pull up in front of my house, the occupants get out of one vehicle and get in the other and drive off not to be seen for at least a week. What we have here is additional parking for Dewey Beach!  

After your discussions at the last workshop meeting, I’m left to wonder, is this a solution in search of a problem? In my last email to you on this subject, I raised these questions: What are your intentions? What is the purpose? Who does it serve?  

I appreciate that your intentions may still be evolving. As to its purpose and who it might serve, I am again left to wonder, is this possibly an effort to reduce the workload of city staff? Please don’t misunderstand, I appreciate the effort put forward by all city employees. I can see that effort every day, everywhere in town. 

From what I understand this is a matter that was initiated internally. Although there were only 62 calls in the last year, the complainants were probably justifiably irate at receiving what could have been substantial fines without adequate notice. City staff were likely subjected to the wrath of these persons. Two points here. I understand that the statistic used for this issue may include other ordinances such as vehicles parking illegally across driveways. This would lessen the complaint volume justification. More significantly, the fact that there is no notification about possible violations is stunning! The consequences of fines is costly and in cases where a vehicle may be towed, could mean significant personal impact on the individual. 

I believe strongly in maintaining balance of the three elements for the success of the city: residents, businesses and visitors. From what I gather, the chamber of commerce and Rehoboth Main Street have not expressed an opinion. If that is the case, this is not an issue of concern for the business community and visitors as a segment of the trade organizations. And, as to residents, it appears that the lack of adequate notice is dampening the opportunity for comment. 

But there is a broader issue here. This is another example of how the city consciously or unconsciously eludes its parking limitations. You exacerbate the problem by refusing to address off-street parking while simultaneously enacting ordinances that restrict residential building and land use. Instead of exploring options for public parking, the city refuses to consider a jitney service that would move people to and from potential satellite parking areas. And, you vote down the construction of a parking garage. 

As I asked in my last email, what is wrong with the current ordinance? Why are you permitting unrestricted access to a single parking space for one week? In most communities, the default parking limit is 24 hours. 

What is the justification?

Again, I urge you to reject this proposal. Please give a little more consideration to the people who live here.   

Hoyte Decker

Rehoboth Beach

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