Valuable Discourse Heard In Fenwick
I write this letter to the community of Fenwick Island and the council that represents it. In the last year, there has been increasing volume coming from residents of our beautiful town on the border of Maryland and Delaware. Issues have risen that are causing the voices of many of the town’s homeowners to become vocal in what was historically a laid back, residential enclave. Are we at risk of losing the moniker of the “Quiet Resort” both literally and figuratively?
The issues fueling this discussion are related to the recent FEMA recommendation on free-boarding and a request to modify current town hotel room density at the request of the new owner of the Sands Motel. There have been very strong positions raised on both sides of these issues.
The good news is that people are communicating, making their feelings known regardless of their position. It’s a new situation for the current town council who say they have historically not received a lot of input from the property owners. Some would say that this was viewed as approval of past decisions and direction of the town, others apathy and still others simple unawareness of the impact of decisions.
I am personally against changing current ordinances relating to the Sands Hotel for the benefit of a few, but also see the point that it may be time for the hotel to get a new lease on life. It’s not an all or none discussion, and most importantly we must fully consider the impact of any change on the town as a whole in the future.
I look forward to the public hearing being held by the town council (as is required by charter) on Dec 4 on the hotel room ordinance change. Let’s hope that the focus is on what is best for the town, not just today, but in the years to come.
How timely it is that Fenwick Island is facing this new situation in the midst of an upcoming election year? Democracy is the opportunity to be heard both through elections and through public opinion and neither should be construed as the exclusive channel.
Council Needs To Slow Motel Process
A letter to your paper last week supported the idea of a new motel in Fenwick Island. Almost no one opposes a new motel on the existing Sands Motel site. What many, if not most, are opposing is a proposal for a 40% increase in allowable motel room density and the accompanying possibility that the increase would apply to the entire commercial district.
But a larger question is why is the town in such a rush to approve an increase in density because of the wishes of one developer? Why has the town not asked for any plans or commitments on the part of this developer?
It amazes me that many individual homeowner requests for a council review of town policies have not even made it to the council agenda. A developer, who just bought the property in March, walks in asks for an increase in zoning density because he wants to make more money and it is on the agenda two months later. The developer has not even submitted a plan. Nor has he even tried to assuage the fears of the property owners of adjoining lots. Now the council wants to approve a new regulation that is fraught with legal risk.
The Town Council initially voted to increase density for the entire commercial zone. When they realized the level of opposition, they retreated and offered a new proposal that theoretically would only apply to the existing motels. The problem is that it does not comply with Delaware Code. If successfully challenged, it could allow other properties to be developed at the new higher density. I hired a well-respected local zoning attorney to review the town’s current proposal and his opinion is that it is not legally sound. I have brought this to the attention of the mayor but not received a response to my letter.
Does the majority of the Town Council really want higher motel density for all commercial property?
The Town Council needs to take a step back, address the neighbors’ concerns about noise and traffic and make sure that the new regulation is compliant with Delaware law. Then it can proceed with confidence that it can achieve what the entire community wishes.
Thanksgiving Food Drive A Success
I would like to thank those members of the Worcester County Bar Association who contributed to the Bar’s Annual Thanksgiving Food Drive. I also thank Scott Fornwalt and the Fenwick Crabhouse, Save-A-Lot and Perdue-Eastern Shore Poultry for facilitating delivery of our food.
This year, we were able to provide approximately 370 less fortunate families with a complete Thanksgiving dinner, which they could prepare in their own homes. We united once again with Worcester County Gold and Pocomoke, Snow Hill, Buckingham and Showell elementary schools to identify those families with children to attempt to reach our goal that no one in our county should go hungry on Thanksgiving.
I acknowledge that our goal is a lofty one that perhaps will never be completely met. We are proud, however, that as our Thanksgiving Food Drive has grown over the past 15 years, we are getting closer.
Thank you for being our brothers’ and sisters’ keeper and attempting to take care of our own.
David C. Gaskill
(The writer serves on the Committee On Charitable Endeavors for the Worcester County Bar Association.)
Annual Glick Gala Supporters Recognized
On Saturday, Nov. 21, the greater Ocean City area gathered to honor John H. “Jack” Burbage, as he was presented with the 5th Annual Hal Glick Distinguished Service Award. Over 350 people came out to honor Jack at the Clarion Fontainebleau Resort, for his many years of leadership and generosity to the community. The award, originally established to recognize the contributions made to the area by Hal Glick, has become an annual event to celebrate quiet philanthropy and outstanding community service.
Diakonia, Atlantic General Hospital and Temple Bat Yam are the beneficiaries of the event. Almost $70,000 will be distributed to the charitable organizations involved.
We would like to thank the committee of Hal and Chris Glick, Dr Leonard and Kari Berger, Bill and Madelyn Carder, Mayor Rick Meehan, Councilwoman Mary Knight, Reese Cropper III, Leighton and Rebecca Moore, Buck Mann, Steve Cohen and Rina Thaler. Thank you to Dr. Berger and the excellent staff at the Clarion for hosting a beautiful event. To our talented emcee Joe Moore, thank you for making the entire evening so enjoyable.
Our appreciation to the Diamond, Platinum and Gold Sponsors: Blue Water Development, The Rogers family, Taylor Bank, Dr Leonard and Kari Berger, Insurance Management Group, Oxford Research Group, Leighton and Rebecca Moore, BSC America/Nichols family, Mr. and Mrs. William Esham Jr, Ben amd Alma Seidel and Sysco Eastern Maryland. In addition, there were many other sponsors, patrons and donors who helped make this evening a success.
A highlight of the evening was the touching presentation by Jack’s son, Todd Burbage. Presentations from elected officials included Ocean City Council members Mary Knight and Dennis Dare, Berlin Mayor Gee Williams, Worcester County Commissioner Bud Church, State Delegate Marybeth Carozza, and Maryland State Senator Jim Mathias. The invocation for the evening was given by Bishop Ronald Soulsman. Thank you to all the attendees who came out to recognize and support Jack Burbage. He is truly deserving of this award. We are looking forward to next year’s event, and the search for future recipients.
(The writers are the co-chairmen of the Hal Glick Distinguished Service Award Committee.)
Festival Turnout Solid
The Downtown Association would like to thank all those who came out on Saturday, Nov. 21 and made our Light Up Downtown Festival on the Boardwalk such a huge success.
A special thank you to our sponsors and donors — Trimper’s Rides, Dough Roller, OCDC, Casino at Ocean Downs, Harrison Harbor Watch, Special Events Productions and Edible Arrangements — and to our many volunteers.
Thank you also to the Ocean City Special Events and Public Work departments for helping us put it all together at this busy time of year and to the Maryland Coast Dispatch for helping publicize the event. Profits from the event will be contributed to Donate to Decorate, our program to bring the holiday spirit back to the downtown area.
We are looking forward to an even bigger, better festival next year and with your continued support, more holiday lights downtown.
Mary Ann Manganello
(The writer is the administrator for the Ocean City Downtown Association.)
Senator Urged To Support Defunding
Animal issues have been in Ocean City area news for a while now. Some are controversial, like our feral cat situation, and some are more lighthearted, like the American Cancer Society’s Bark For Life earlier this month.
One issue I am shocked has not gotten more attention is the impending return of horse slaughter plants to US soil. Senator Mikulski is one of the 80 percent of Americans who oppose this grisly industry, and co-sponsored the SAFE Act (S.1214) in an attempt to protect horses from a slow and inhumane death, communities from an environmental nightmare and all consumers from tainted, unsafe meat.
That Act has not passed yet, and in the next few weeks if we do not include language defunding horse slaughter plant inspection (which keeps them opening), we will suffer the consequences next year. Please urge Senator Mikulski to fight for defund language in the next few weeks.
Benefit Event Thanks
The Ocean City Museum Society would like to thank all those who participated in our second annual Storm Warriors 5K run/walk on Saturday, Nov. 14. It turned out to be a beautiful day and the 130 runners/walkers seemed to have a good time.
We are indebted to our sponsors: Bank of Ocean City, Calvin B Taylor Bank, Ocean City Elks, American Legion Post 166, Ocean City Lions Club, Seacrets, the Ocean City Development Corporation, the Greene Turtle and Walmart. We appreciate that they recognize the work of the Socitty in preserving the history of our town. OC Tri-running officiated the event. Chris Klebe and his team are a delight to work with. We are grateful for the City’s appreciation of what we do.
The Museum has been at its current location since 1978 providing a glimpse into the history of Ocean City and Worcester County. Each year thousands of visitors and residents alike discover what it took for Ocean City to become the attraction it is. It is a repository of memories of those who have contributed to our history.
We would like to remind the readers that the Museum Society is participating in the national event Giving Tuesday on December 1. Please visit www.shoregivesmore.com to participate.
The third annual Storm Warriors event will take place next November. We will keep you posted on details.
Nancy L. Howard
(The writer is the president of the OC Museum Society, Inc.)