Homeowners Association Urges Rehoboth Residents to Support Zonin - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Homeowners Association Urges Rehoboth Residents to Support Zoning Ordinance

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Downtown Rehoboth Beach (Photo: WBOC) Downtown Rehoboth Beach (Photo: WBOC)

REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. - With less than three weeks remaining before a controversial referendum, the debate is heating up in Rehoboth Beach over a July zoning ordinance. On Monday, the Rehoboth Beach Homeowner’s Association entered the debate, by declaring its support for the ordinance, urging residents to vote yes. 

The ordinance was approved by the Rehoboth Beach Commissioners in July, following neighbor complaints over large homes that were disturbing the “character of the city.” After the ordinance was passed, other neighbors continued to voice their opposition to the ordinance, and one group started distributing petitions, calling for a referendum on the issue. After gathering more than 400 signatures, a referendum was scheduled for Nov 7. 

The Rehoboth Beach Homeowners Association voted to recommend acceptance of the ordinance by a vote of 6-0. In a press release, the association announced it would be united with a community group called "Rehoboth Neighbors United", in support of the zoning ordinance. Board member Steve Curson said that the large homes were causing problems with noise, parking, and maintaining the city’s lifestyle.

“The Rehoboth Beach Homeowners Association formed in 1971 to stop the proliferation of high-risers here in Rehoboth Beach,” he said. “Now in 2015, we have a new issue which is the building of mega-homes and what we’re calling mini-hotels.”

The ordinance is multi-faceted. It increased the amount of natural or unbuilt areas from 40 percent to 50 percent of the total lot size. It also limited the size of houses in the main residential district to 4,500-square-feet. It also tackled issues of setbacks and floor to area ratios. In particular, the ordinance mandated that homes with pools would have to adhere to a lower ratio. 

“This referendum will show that the commissioners and the mayor have the support of the city,” he said. “To keep this a city that people who live here are proud of.” 

But for the people who distributed the petitions, including attorney Eugene Lawson, the ordinance is an infringement on property rights. 

“At the public hearing,” said Lawson, "there were far more people that were telling the commission that they didn’t want these regulations that reduced the lot coverage and increased the green space. That there were other ways to resolve some of these problems. And the commissioners just didn’t pay any attention.” 

The Nov. 7 referendum is open for all registered voters in Rehoboth Beach. 

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