Dewey Beach

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DEWEY BEACH, Del. (AP) - Some Dewey Beach residents are accusing town officials of bending the rules in a land deal that could expand Town Hall.

The News Journal reports three property owners filed a complaint with the Delaware Department of Justice over Dewey Beach's purchase of two lots along Coastal Highway for $875,000.

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A Freedom of Information Act complaint has been filed with the Delaware state Attorney General’s Office against the town of Dewey Beach.

Around a dozen property owners say they are not happy with how the resort cut a deal for a contingency contract to buy two properties along Coastal Highway.

The complaint was filed on February 13th and includes former Commissioner Joy Howell.

It wants to know how the decision was made to expand the town offices on properties next to town hall.

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Dewey Beach says it may give up its right to 3-thousand square feet of space in the Lighthouse Cove project.

Under a proposed amendment to the agreement with the developers the city would give it up in exchange for $360-thousand.

It was supposed to have been used for office space.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that Town Manager Marc Appelbaum says the town wants to keep its police and town hall in the same building.   

The money would have to be paid in full by the end of June in 2017 or by the expiration of the building permit whichever comes first.

Don Rush

The Dewey Beach Patrol is asking beachgoers next year to leave their inflatable novelty items at home.

During an October 11 town meeting the town council considered a proposed amendment to the zoning code on what constitutes adult novelty items.

The measure was not sent to the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission because the resort’s current code would bar the display of indecent items under its disorderly conduct provision.

There were two incidents earlier this summer where some inappropriate items were brought to the beach,

Don Rush

REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. (AP) - Free parking has returned to Delaware's beach towns as summer comes to a close, but city officials say parking revenue was generally up this year.

Parking revenue was up in Rehoboth Beach, Lewes and Bethany Beach but was down in Dewey Beach.

In Rehoboth, more people were using the Parkmobile smartphone app to pay for parking. City manager Sharon Lynn says the number of transactions increased 26 percent this year. The city also saw a 2 percent increase in revenue from parking meters.

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32-year old Michael Brown says that he and several others were turned away from Northbeach bar in Dewey Beach bar because of his race.

He claims that he was told the owner was trying to “not let any black males in tonight.”

Brown adds that when he looked around there were other African American men who also being denied entry.

He said that a few weeks before he had gotten into the Northbeach bar and had a good time.

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DEWEY BEACH, Del. (AP) - A Delaware shop owner has lost his free speech fight over the decor of a beach store.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that U.S. District Judge Leonard Stark has ruled the store's owner wasn't persuasive in claiming Dewey Beach overstepped in repeatedly issuing fines over decorations.

Jason Fruchtman, the owner of Jeremiah's, had contended that regulating his store's appearance just because town officials thought it was ugly infringed on commercial free speech.

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Dewey Beach is worried about the drop in seasonal police applicants.

Sergeant Cliff Dempsey with the Dewey Beach Police Department told WMDT that the number of applicants has declined over the years.

He suggested that the pay and economy could be having an impact.

They have the 20 officers that they need this summer.

But Sergeant Dempsey says the department is concerned about the coming years if the numbers decline.

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DEWEY BEACH, Del. (AP) - Delaware's beaches have ranked first in water quality out of 30 states, and Dewey Beach is among the best.

The new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council found just 3 percent of water samples exceeded the national "Beach Action Value" for 24 beach areas in 2013. Dewey Beach is listed as a "superstar" beach for its water quality over several years.

Maryland's beaches ranked fourth in beach water quality out of 30 states. The state's "superstars" were listed as Point Lookout State Park and Assateague State Park.

Don Rush

DOVER, Del. (AP) - The state House is set to vote on bill clarifying the ability of Delaware municipalities to raise taxes.

The bill to be voted on Tuesday makes clear that a municipality cannot impose a tax unless that tax is expressly authorized by the General Assembly in approving the local government's charter.

The bill was prompted by issues in Dewey Beach, which was the target of a lawsuit last year claiming that its business license fees exceed the cost of administering the business licenses, and thus amounted to unauthorized taxes. 

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DEWEY BEACH, Del. (AP) - The Delaware shore town of Dewey Beach plans to install eight new security cameras as early as Christmas.

Len Read, co-chair of the town's public safety task force, says the cameras are a "preventative measure more than anything."

The Daily Times of Salisbury reports the town council voted to spend nearly $100,000 for a camera system.

Police Chief Sam Mackert says a state law enforcement grant, a donation from Springbank Foundation and surplus revenue from the Winter Gala are also helping cover the cost.

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DEWEY BEACH, Del. (AP) - A new town commissioner in Dewey Beach is resigning after less than two months in office.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that Commissioner Ellen Danaher cited health concerns in a letter to commissioners released this month.

Mayor Diane Hanson says there is no deadline to fill the seat. The interim council member would fill an almost two-year term. Hanson says the council will likely not have a decision until the new year.

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Governor Jack Markell will be in Dewey Beach for the grand-opening of a Hyatt Place.

But it will be against the backdrop of litigation and negotiations over the height of the building which exceeds the city’s normal 35-foot height limit by 11 feet.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that opponents say they’re concerned about keeping the coastal skyline from becoming like that of Ocean City.

Don Rush

There will be no referendum on a gross receipts tax in September for the residents of Dewey Beach.

The town council made the decision on Friday after a heated public hearing.

The City Council’s Budget and Finance committee member Mike Dunmyer said that he regretted the proposal calling it a mistake that would have left residents in the town worse off.

WDEL reports that the proposal was an effort to deal with the financial challenges the resort is facing.

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A camera surveillance system is coming to Dewey Beach to monitor activity on Route 1 during the summer months.

Town officials tell WBOC that police will use the cameras to increase their awareness and record video when necessary to reduce crime.

The 8 cameras will be able to pan and zoom from a control room at the Dewey Beach Police Department.

The cost is not expected to be more than $95-thousand.

Half the money will come from grants and donations while the town comes up with the rest.

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The Delaware Supreme Court says Dewey Beach Mayor Diane Hanson did not act unethically in casting a vote on the Ruddertowne redevelopment project.

The state's Public Integrity Commission had found that Hanson acted improperly because she owned rental property in the city.

In a one-page order, the Supreme Court said it agreed with a lower court's ruling that had cleared Hanson.

A Superior Court judge reversed the ruling last year, and the commission appealed the judge’s ruling to the Supreme Court.

Don Rush

DEWEY BEACH, Del. (AP) - Dewey Beach is starting to enforce a new beach smoking ban, but town lifeguards are taking a soft approach.

The Dewey Beach Patrol says everyone being warned that smoking is prohibited is putting out their cigarettes without an issue. The lifeguards are letting violators off the hook with a warning, instructing them to smoke on the street rather than on the beach.

Dewey Town Manager Marc Appelbaum tells WBOC-TV that smoking ban signs have been ordered and should arrive within the next week.

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The Dewey Beach Town Council has decided to delay the decision on whether or not to buy surveillance cameras for the resort until their June 14th session.

There is a proposal to put up 8 surveillance cameras in the downtown area…to deter crime.

The plan would cost around $100-thousand.

Marc Appelbaum, the town manager told the Salisbury Daily Times, that there were some technical and cost questions the council wanted to pursue.

The cameras were suggested by the Dewey Beach Public Safety Task Force earlier this year. 

 

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DEWEY BEACH, Del. (AP) - Dewey Beach officials are moving toward banning smoking on the town's beaches and in municipal parks.

The Daily Times of Salisbury reports that the Town Council decided Saturday to draft an amendment to the municipal code that would ban smoking in those locations. The town manager will draft the language, which should be ready for a vote before the May council meeting.

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DEWEY BEACH, Del. (AP) - Officials in Dewey Beach are considering banning smoking on the beach.

Mayor Diane Hanson tells The News Journal many people have requested a smoking ban. If it passes, Dewey would become Delaware's fifth coastal town to restrict smoking.

Fenwick Island enacted a smoking ban earlier this year. Bethany Beach and the state parks also bar smoking on the beach. In Rehoboth Beach and Lewes, smoking is banned in parks and playgrounds.

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DEWEY BEACH, Del. (AP) - A former commissioner in Dewey Beach is now serving as the resort's acting town manager.

The Daily Times of Salisbury reports that Marc Appelbaum and the town council agreed to a 90-day contract, beginning Aug. 27, with an option for an additional 90 days by mutual consent.

Appelbaum says he wants to use his skills to provide stability in the town. He says it's unlikely that he'd be interested in the full-time position.

Mayor Diane Hanson, deweybeach.com

GEORGETOWN, Del. (AP) - A Superior Court judge has overturned an ethics ruling by Delaware's Public Integrity Commission against the mayor of Dewey Beach.

The judge ruled Thursday that the commission erred in finding that Mayor Diane Hanson had a conflict of interest in voting in 2010 to clarify 35-foot height restrictions for buildings in Dewey's resort business district. The vote came after developers wanting to expand the Ruddertowne complex sought to build a 68-foot structure.

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DEWEY BEACH, Del. (AP) - The finance director of Dewey Beach has announced he is resigning, making him the second town leader to step down in less than a month.

The Daily Times of Salisbury (http://tinyurl.com/8sypjxo ) reports Bill Brown will leave his post on Aug. 30. He has spent two years in the position.

The Ruddertowne development has been given the green light to move forward with a court ruling that dismissed a lawsuit against Dewey Beach Enterprises and the town of Dewey Beach.

Vice Chancellor John Noble denied motions by the plaintiffs for rearguments because they missed the 60 day filing deadline. 

Noble emphasized that his ruling was not an endorsement of the Town Council’s approval of the Mutual Agreement for the Ruddertowne project.

Local residents had sought to prevent renovation of the Ruddertowne complex that involves a 45 foot high mixed-use property.

Two beaches along the Maryland and Delaware shore have made the list of the nation's cleanest beaches.

Delaware's Dewey Beach and Maryland's Ocean City Beach 6 have earned a five-star rating.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the Natural Resources Defense Council found that they were among a dozen beaches that follow best practices and violated health standards less than 5 percent of the time.

The environmental group is releasing its annual assessment of 3,000 beach sites today.

The Town Council of Dewey Beach will take up a proposal tomorrow night to impose its first property tax.

David King, chair of the Budget and Finance Committee, said the resort was losing ground in finding revenue for its budget.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that like most coastal communities Dewey Beach benefited from the building boom and created a surplus of more than $2 million.

Most of the money for the resort’s local government comes from the transfer fee paid when real estate is sold, building permits and fines.

 

DEWEY BEACH, Del. (AP) - Musicians booking gigs in the town of Dewey Beach will have to pay to play.

The News Journal of Wilmington, Del.,  reports that for the first time the town is making musicians and DJs buy a $109 business license to play in the town. If a performer does not pay, they face a warning or a fine of up to $500.

The fee only applies to musicians being paid, so free acts are exempt.

Dewey Beach Mayor Diane Hanson says having artists pay for a business license is a matter of fairness.

 

As Dewey Beach considers clamping down on noise this summer some say the proposal is unfriendly to business in the community known for its nightlife.

The night time noise limits would drop from 75 to 60 decibels between 10 pm to 7 am.

In addition, the day time limit would also drop from 80 to 70 decibels.

Mitchell King, manager of the a pub and restaurant Port in Dewey, described the Town Council as anti-business.

He told the Wilmington News Journal that he believes they are forcing business to leave the resort.   

 

        REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. (AP) - New commissioners in Delaware's beach towns say their biggest challenge is balancing the interests of full-time residents and those who visit or live there part-time.

     Mark Hunker, the newest commissioner in Rehoboth Beach, tells The Daily Times that his vote goes to what he believes the community needs, and he favors the masses over the few. Hunker, who is gay and owns two restaurants, says he doesn't want to represent only gay community interests or business interests.