Voters Ready for Rehoboth Zoning Referendum - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Voters Ready for Rehoboth Zoning Referendum

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One of many signs in Rehoboth (Photo: WBOC) One of many signs in Rehoboth (Photo: WBOC)

REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. - Polls open Saturday at 11am for the Rehoboth Beach zoning ordinance referendum, and both sides of the controversy are very vocal.

The zoning ordinance was passed this summer by the commissioners in an attempt to limit the size of future homes and maintain the "character" of Rehoboth Beach.

The ordinance sparked immediate opposition, leading residents to form a petition to bring it to a public special election.

Richard Perry is on the no side. He is a founding member of the group One Rehoboth, hoping to overturn the ordinance.

"Contrary to what the other side would have you believe, I do believe that we're going to end up with homes built as boxes," he explained. "I could not build the home that is behind me right now under the new ordinance."

But Susan Gay, a member if Rehoboth Neighbors United, a group in support of the ordinance, said it's quite the opposite.

"I know that there's a trend towards building bigger but the environment is a big deal, green space, the trees are why people come here and you can't take up an entire lot," she said. "Cut down all the trees and still have the Rehoboth we all known and love."

While some said limiting house size will also help reduce problems with noise, Perry said the recent noise ordinance succeeded in that respect.

"In fact if you look at the police statistics, it is clear that the noise ordinance is working and you can look at the source of the noise and by and large for the most part those noises are coming from sources very much other than swimming pools and large homes," Perry elaborated.

"There are many factors to it," Gay countered. "I know people say it's about noise, in my mind, it's not about noise, it's about the charm, character, it's about keeping the crown jewel of the state really."

The ordinance is multi-faceted. It increases the amount of natural or unbuilt areas from 40 to 50 percent of the total lot size. It then limits the size of houses in the main residential district to 4,500-square-feet. It also tackles setbacks and floor-to-area ratios; in particular, mandating that homes with pools would have a lower ratio.

The polls are open from 11am to 7pm at the Rehoboth Beach Volunteer Fire Company's Fire Hall.

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