Fenwick Island News
Town of Fenwick Island, Delaware
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Fenwick Island is the latest town to join a long list of municipalities opposing seismic testing off the Atlantic coast. Besides the potential harm to hundreds of thousands of animals, the town should not have to face the threat of a possible future oil spill, the town council decided on Jan. 22.
Hair of the Dog 5K/10K to kick off festivities
It’s been a Bethany Beach tradition for going on 20 years now, and this New Years’ Day will be rung in the same way, with the Leo Brady Exercise Like the Eskimos.
In addition to the annual plunge, in which participants brave the cold temperatures of the Atlantic to celebrate the new year, the days’ festivities — put on by the Quiet Resorts Charitable Foundation — will start out with the annual Hair of the Dog 5K and 10K oceanfront and boardwalk run.
The race and day’s events will include live music from D.J. Padraig and, as always, will include overall and age group awards and a post-race party at Mango’s on the Bethany Beach boardwalk, with beer and food donated by local restaurants.
To commemorate the race’s fifth year, participants will also receive a free insulated race tumbler provided by Burnzy’s Bar & Grill. As with prior events, racers are also being encouraged to dress up in festive costumes for the event and feel free to run the 5K with a four-legged friend.
Property owners may be interested in a moratorium on hotels, even if they were dissatisfied by Fenwick Island Town Council rejecting a homeowner petition and increasing hotel/motel room density.
After a rocky 2015 election, the Town of Fenwick Island is being proactive on voter registration. The Ad-Hoc Election Committee met Dec. 4 to begin educating residents and property owners.
The August election is over, so Councilwoman Julie Lee, committee chair, wants to focus on educating voters for next summer’s municipal election.
With some legal help, Fenwick Island residents have created a petition that could crush the proposed motel zoning ordinance.
A Dec. 4 public hearing was held on a zoning amendment that could allow existing hotels/motels to increase density to one sleeping room per 600 square feet of land. (Future hotels/motels would be limited to the current 1,000-square-foot limit.)
This Friday, the people will have the floor, but they’ll be discussing beds.
The Fenwick Island Town Council will host a public hearing at Town Hall on Friday, Dec. 4, at 2:30 p.m., regarding room density in hotels and motels.
Room density is based on lot size. The town code currently allows hotels/motels to have one sleeping room per 1,000 square feet of overall land.
It’s time to bundle up, grab some hot chocolate and prepare those Christmas lists, and local towns will welcome the holiday season with the annual Christmas parades.
Just because beach towns are less likely to see a white Christmas doesn’t mean they shouldn’t sing for one.
Fenwick Island is inviting residents and neighbors to a holiday gathering at the town park on Friday, Dec. 11. People can enjoy caroling, the tree lighting and hors d’oeuvres from 6 to 9 p.m.
Fenwick Island’s new personnel program will help employees in need, starting with a town police officer and his baby boy.
Town Council had a special meeting Nov. 5 just to consider and approve a Donated Leave Program.
Hotelier warns against restricting growth
The Fenwick Island Town Council has backed off its original proposal to increase permitted hotel room density in the town. On Oct. 23, they approved, 5-2, the first reading of an ordinance that allows only existing hotels to increase density, to one sleeping room per 600 square feet of land.
Public hearing postponed
When it comes to hotels, Fenwick Island is trying to find a way to make everyone happy.
The town council will consider a new ordinance on Oct. 23 that would allow the Sands Motel to have a higher density than it does now but limit any future hotels to the current, more restrictive code.
Fenwick Island’s Business Development Committee took a look at the summer season for past improvements and future ideas.
Limitations teeter on the table
The Town of Fenwick Island took the first step this week toward loosening its hotel ordinance, which would help a local business owner renovate and upgrade the Sands Motel. A majority of the council voted on Sept. 25 to approve the first reading of commercial zoning changes (zoning Chapter 160-2 and 160-5).
The Fenwick Island Town Council election is over for 2015, but discussions of it aren’t quite in the past.
Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) officials announced around 4:30 p.m. that, due to high water, Route 1 northbound and southbound was being closed between Bethany and Dewey Beach (including the Charles Cullen Bridge over the Indian River Inlet).
Coastal flood warnings in effect along Atlantic Coast and Delaware Bays
With moderate to major coastal flooding expected at high tides today and tomorrow, along with high wind warnings along the coast, Gov. Jack Markell at noon on Oct. 2 issued a Limited State of Emergency for Sussex County, effective immediately. State offices will remain open, and no driving restrictions are being implemented; however, localized road closures may occur as conditions warrant it.
Like any parents, Stephen and Amanda Lowe are delighted to be having their first child together in October. But their baby boy has a long road ahead, starting with open-heart surgery within days of his birth.
Still in the womb, baby Coleton was diagnosed with transposition of the great arteries (TGA), in which his largest arteries are incorrectly attached to the chambers of the heart.
The Fenwick Island Town Council may consider a new gun ordinance prohibiting the public from carrying firearms inside town buildings, including the police department.
As soon as Emilie Bonano realized that she enjoyed marketing, she wanted to do that in a tourist location. That makes her new position as communications manager for the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce even more fitting.
What is the role of communications manager? “It’s all-encompassing,” she said. She’ll handle all press releases, newsletters, social media and email lists, but also creating, developing and selling ads for Chamber publications.
“Working for such a wonderful organization that really brings all of the tourism businesses together all in one, and being able to make this community united and getting the [word] out there for everyone” really excited her about this job, she said.
Bonano said she wanted to join a group that makes people and tourists “feel at home when they visit,” and get “the community united, and getting our tourists here going to the businesses that are members of the Chamber.”
The Chamber staff was delighted with her experience in marketing, event planning and recruiting.
Since the age of 15, Tim Ferry has been guarding Delaware beaches. That was 40 years ago. But the Fenwick Island Beach Patrol captain wasn’t allowed to begin his 41st year without some celebration, as the Fenwick Island Town Council honored Ferry at its Aug. 28 meeting.
“There’s not much micro-management that has to occur when you’re working with” such an experienced employee, said Town Manager Merritt Burke.
More than the certificate and $50 award (per the Town personnel policy), Ferry looked amazed to receive a huge round of applause from the residents as he posed for photos with several other FIBP lifeguards.
“To say I like my job would be an understatement, but thank you,” Ferry said emotionally to the full house.
Even before beginning his 12 years as a FIBP leader, he learned to never underestimate anything on the beach, regardless riptides or calm water. Vacationing locally as a child, he’s always been enchanted by everything about the beach, from the sand to the small town.
For more than 60 years, the Sands Motel in Fenwick Island has operated with fewer than 40 rooms. The current town code prevents new owner Spiro Buas from rebuilding a hotel with more than 39 rooms, which is a third less than the other hotels in town.
Buas is requesting that the Town significantly reduce the density limit so he can build a comparable motel.
Fenwick Island Town Council members got an earful on Aug. 28, regarding flood insurance, motels and the recent election.
Resident Pete Frederick shared his concerns over the August election, including voter qualification, registration and the election itself. After comparing the Town’s actions to state and town law, he encouraged town council to change the requirements.
The council addressed his complaint about the town manager and town clerk (non-members of the Board of Elections) sitting at the door with a list of addresses to check people in.
The Board had invited those two to “be present for any questions,” the June minutes state. Weisling said any concerns should have been raised at that time, but Frederick called it infringement if people were turned away at the door.
More than half of Fenwick Island’s eligible voters cast ballots in the Aug. 1 town council election, responding to a month of intense campaigning by the six candidates running for four seats.
Incumbents Richard Mais (251 votes), Gene Langan (245) and Roy Williams (223) led in the polls, followed by challenger Julie Lee (199). They defeated challengers Lisa Benn (195) and Ann Christ (173).
The Fenwick Island Town Council approved the Town’s fee schedule and financial plan for the 2016 fiscal year at a July 24 council meeting, including a $1.8 million operating budget, $262,000 in capital improvements and new funding for maintenance of town parks — all with no property tax increase.
Town Manager Merritt Burke noted some increases in fees, with a business license to cost $185, up $10; late-payment fees up from $25, to $100; the special-event deposit increasing to $250; bonfire permits up $25, to $75; and the cost of an additional parking tag increasing to $75, from $50.
The Fenwick Island Town Council and Town staff bid farewell to outgoing councilwoman and mayor Audrey Serio at her last meeting behind the council table on July 24. Serio was first elected to the council in 2003, having made the decision to run, she recalled, because her father had previously been elected to the council.
“I had built a new house here in Fenwick Island with my husband, and I said I was going to run and serve for one term — and here I stand,” she said 12 years later.