South Bethany Prepares for New House Height Ordinance - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

South Bethany Prepares for New House Height Ordinance

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SOUTH BETHANY, Del. - The South Bethany Town Council will vote on an ordinance that would extend the maximum height a home could be as long as the homeowner adds freeboard as well.

Currently, the height maximum is at 32 feet. If this ordinance passes, homeowners can raise up to 34 feet, with two feet of freeboard underneath.

According to council member George Junkin, this came about after the Superstorm Sandy disaster. Many homes were flooded and suffered terrible damage. Raising homes two feet would provide a safety net if a similar storm surge were to occur.

"It has nothing to do with a board, it has to do with margin of safety," Junkin explained "If you're a boater you know freeboard is how much room you have between the water and the top of the gunnel, well we want to have room between water and the floor that people live on."

Michael Giofry spends his summers in South Bethany, and said he has recently been considering raising his home, but not just for water safety.

"Everybody utilizes the whole lot for their house, it gives them no storage space, so it's just utilizing the space you have," he said.

Since many homes already reach 32 feet, this ordinance would give them the chance to go even higher if they so choose. However, some are worried that going above the previous maximum will cause more people to build at 34 feet.

"There are people who do not want houses to be higher," Junkin said. "So whenever there is something that allows houses to be higher there are people that are against that."

Some, like Paul Caputo, said they are willing to compromise.

"As far as the view I guess if you're living right next to that view it would block you but 32 feet is going to block you, 34 feet is going to block you," he explained.

While some care about the view, or the bigger home, for the town, it's all about protecting its citizens from the rising waters.

The council is voting on Friday August 8th.

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