Rehoboth Commissioners Adopt Ordinance Limiting House Size - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Rehoboth Commissioners Adopt Ordinance Limiting House Size

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

REHOBOTH, Del. -- Just a few weeks after ruling out a controversial pool ban, Rehoboth's Board of Commissioners have made the decision to set limits on house sizes.

In what's been a heated battle of tug of war between the city of Rehoboth and property owners since last summer, the new ordinance setting limits on home sizes is a win for the residents most vocal about noise issues.

The commissioners voted 6-1 Friday night at a regular meeting held inside the Rehoboth Convention Center.

The ordinance requires homes to not exceed 6,000 square feet in some zones, and 4,500 square feet in other zones.

The zoning ordinance also increases the rear-yard setback and requires that 50 percent of a property's area contain natural landscape.

Homes currently undergoing expansion projects will likely have to stay as is and incorporate more greenery.

Commissioner Stan Mills says the new zoning changes are an effort to restore Rehoboth to its traditional roots, as some residents say the city's charm gets lost among the large homes.

"People are passionate on both sides," said Mills, "some want to preserve the town because they say the charm and the character's being lost. Then you have others on the other end that want to be able to maintain the status quo."

Homeowners like Rick Perry, who's running for a commissioners seat, say the changes will decrease property values and incentives for potential buyers over time.

Something Perry says is the opposite of what the city is trying to do to restore the town's character.

"The unintended consequences of what they did over time will result in downward prices for homes, a chilling of the market for real estate sales, and ultimately a significant negative impact on our local economy," said Perry.

Perry says limiting house sizes won't solve the real problem: noise.

"They transformed the original issue of noise into a pool issue. And then when they lost the pool issue a month ago, they transformed it into the mini hotels and the large homes being built," said Perry.

Mills says the zoning changes provide homeowners more options.

"There are a lot of choices and tradeoffs to decide whether or not to have a large house and no pool, or perhaps a little smaller house with a pool," the commissioner said.

Another controversial agenda item that was discussed but not voted on during Friday night's meeting is the proposed ordinance that would increase the required parking spaces for homes with more than three toilets.

Mills says the proposed parking space-toilet ordinance will be discussed at the next public workshop August 10 inside the Commissioners Room. 

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