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Contents of April 2019 Newsletter sent to CCEPOA members
A new task force has been formed to consider a parking garage in the City, and will be making its recommendations to the Commissioners within the next several months. Chaired by City Manager Sharon Lynn, members of the group include several Commissioners and business owners. The first meeting on May 3 is available for viewing on the City website. All meetings are open to the public. We will keep you updated via email!
Last September, our Mayor and Commissioners unanimously approved an amendment to the City charter to impose a lodging tax up to 3% on hotel and motel rentals. But the charter change must be approved by the General Assembly and has yet to be introduced. We will be contacting Representative Schwartzkopf and Senator Lopez to express our support for the hotel tax.
As it is now, hotels in Rehoboth Beach contribute very little toward the cost of city services and infrastructure. There is a hotel building boom in the City of Rehoboth Beach! Three new hotels have been proposed this year that will add an additional 230 rooms to the approximately 1150 that currently exist in the City. More people staying in hotels in the City will only increase the burden on our infrastructure and the services that the City provides to our visitors. Consider these factors:
Residential rental houses have a 6% lodging tax and contribute more than $2 million a year to the City revenue stream. In addition, residential rental landlords often buy parking passes for their guests.
. City-wide, parking fees contribute approximately $5.7 million a year to the City. Hotels have their own parking lots and garages, and guests pay nothing to the city for that parking.
We spend approximately $200,000 a year to maintain the boardwalk. Hotel guests contribute nothing to that upkeep.
We spend over $1 million a year in garbage collection, much of it on and near the boardwalk. Most of that money is paid from residential refuse fees from homeowners. Hotels pay nothing.
We pay $650,000 a year for beach patrol services. Hotel guests are big users of the beach, just as they are big users of the boardwalk.
Residents, visitors in rental homes, and anyone using parking meters in the City are the ones paying the bills for all this upkeep. It’s time for hotel guests to pay their fair share. We believe they would agree and that visitors to Rehoboth will not object to this small tax. Other resort towns already charge a hotel tax, and most cities and towns around the country do so, often at much higher rates! Guests are accustomed to them.
We have just learned that a bill allowing Georgetown to enact a hotel tax up to 3% is already in the General Assembly.
As you may know, our water and sewer bills will be going up 30% and 60%, respectively, starting April 1, which means you will see the increase in your second quarter bill in July. The Utility Rates Committee will soon recommend final rates, and may suggest eliminating peak rates for summer, which means that the cost of higher summer usage will now be spread across all users throughout the year.
We do not yet know if a Town Hall will be scheduled to present the new rates before our Commissioners vote on them. We will keep you posted via email updates so be sure that we have your email address.
Major new development projects
Several major new commercial developments are underway in the City. In the past few months, plans for 3 new hotels and a large expansion for Clear Space Theatre have been introduced at Planning Commission meetings, and are currently undergoing site plan review. Two projects could affect parking along the streets of CCE.
One of the hotels directly abuts CCE. Called Rehoboth Grand, it will be a 90-room hotel at the corner of Rehoboth Avenue and State Road, on two parcels, one of which is now zoned residential.
Clear Space plans to construct a 295-seat theatre with offices and classrooms in the 400 block of Rehoboth Avenue, on three parcels located next to the Ark. On-site parking requirements have not yet been determined.
The other new hotels are in the ocean block of Baltimore Avenue, and on the boardwalk between Rehoboth Avenue and Wilmington Avenue. Please check the city website for Planning Commission and Commissioner meetings where these topics are discussed for any updates this summer.
Summer Season Updates
The new summer season will soon be upon us with increased visitors, pool openings and gatherings. If noise becomes an issue after 11:00 PM, you are encouraged to call the non-emergency number at the Police Department (302-227-2577). They would like to have a record of the “bad players”.
The City of Rehoboth Beach has partnered with the Blood Bank of Delmarva on a blood drive to be held Monday, May 13, from 12 – 6 PM at the Convention Center, 229 Rehoboth Avenue. You can book an appointment by calling 1-888-8-BLOOD-8 or online at: http://bit.ly/rehobothdrive and use code CORB. The Blood Bank of Delmarva needs 350 donors per day to ensure patients at the 19 hospitals in Delmarva has the blood they need. Please help if you can.
Contact us at email@example.com if you have questions or comments.
Special meeting to discuss parking meter and permit changes -- Sept. 21, 1 PM, City Hall
Over the next several months, the Rehoboth Beach commissioners will be considering proposals by the parking advisory committee to address the city's increasingly congested streets. The committee is comprised of property and business owners, residents and stakeholders in the community and is charged with enhancing the viability of the city by evaluating, researching and recommending parking related issues to the commissioners.
The committee's presentation can be found at cityofrehoboth.civicweb.net/document/28004. Some of the changes the committee recommended during the commissioners regular meeting on August 17, 2018, are:
* Make the parking meter and parking permit seasons and enforcement times consistent.
* Extend the season for both from May 1 through September 30 and adjust enforcement hours from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
* Provide two transferrable, two non-transferable, and two scooter parking permits free of charge for all property owners. Additional seasonal parking permits would need to be purchased.
* To encourage more people to access downtown businesses through turnover in parking spaces, the committee has proposed changing the hourly parking price from $2 to $3 on the first two blocks of Rehoboth Avenue and the first blocks of Wilmington and Baltimore Avenues. The goal of this initiative is not to boost revenue, but rather to promote the movement of cars due to a higher price instead of refilling meters throughout the day.
The commissioners will be discussing these recommendations at a special meeting September 21 at 1 p.m. For the meeting agenda and more information, please visit cityofrehoboth.civicweb.net/Portal/.
Several issues affecting CCE homeowners have come up this year. The CCEPOA board has been active in discussing these issues and communicating with city officials. Here’s what we’ve done:
1. Early 2018 — We requested that City include in its budget a pavilion to be located in the Stockley Street Tot Lot. You can read the full text of our letter here.
2. The City has a new Parking Committee this year. Our president, Tom Zellers, has been attending their meetings to represent CCEPOA homeowners and address your concerns about parking in our neighborhood. His letter to the Commissioners concerning parking issues raised by homeowners on Country Club Drive, Sandalwood and Munson is attached here.
3. Dogfish Head opened their new brewpub and applied for a liquor license for a patio outside. Several homeowners expressed concerns over noise and black soot rising from the smokestacks. CCEPOA supported those neighbors and all homeowners in CCE by submitting this letter protesting the application. At the Alcohol Beverage Control Commission hearing on May 14, 2018, approval of liquor license was given for the patio only, not the entire 2300 sq ft outdoor area; the patio must not exceed 750 square feet per City code. If you have any ongoing concerns with Dogfish Head, please let us know so we can keep the City informed!
Photos below are from CCEPOA Annual Meetings, held the Saturday after Labor Day each year.