FENWICK ISLAND – While it remains unclear how a continuous sidewalk system along Route 1 would impact commercial parking in Fenwick Island, those in the business community are calling for the town to review its parking requirements.
In a Fenwick Island Town Council meeting late last month, Tim Collins, chair of the Fenwick Island Business Development Committee, requested the town look into reviewing its parking regulations, which set the number and size of parking spots available at a commercial property.
“It’s been mentioned to me several times, and there has been some conversation in the past, about taking a look at the parking formula and see if we want to try and change the parking formula to accommodate compact or smaller cars,” he said.
Collins mentioned that Fenwick Island’s efforts to see a continuous sidewalk path installed along Route 1 could impact commercial parking, and that reviewing the town’s parking formula could be the first step in reclaiming any lost parking spots.
“The reality of the sidewalk project is there is probably going to be some commercial parking spots lost,” he said, “and maybe this would be the time to look at the parking formula with the idea that by tweaking it somewhat we can get a few more spots on the lots. That would be for the council to recommend to the ordinance committee.”
Collins also suggested the town consider adding additional lighting along Route 1, if a new sidewalk were to be installed in Fenwick Island.
“If and when the sidewalks come, there is some interest from the business community in looking at possibly putting lights along the sidewalk to give the sidewalks more definition and give us some additional lighting in town,” he said.
Councilwoman Vicki Carmean, who chairs the town’s Pedestrian Safety Committee, or Sidewalk Committee, praised Collins and the business community for their input.
“I was so happy to hear from your report,” she said. “It’s a positive thing. I thought you were going to say that people didn’t want this or that, but it’s good that you are anticipating what will look good out there and what will benefit the business community, so I thank you.”
Carmean said she agreed that the town’s parking formula could be adjusted.
“I think we estimate that maybe one or two spots would be lost,” she said, “but if we could adjust that formula maybe we won’t have to lose those spots.”
In a report following Collins’ suggestions, Carmean said the town would be giving a presentation on pedestrian safety in Fenwick Island to officials from the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) and partnering agencies on Aug. 28. Since last year, the committee has worked closely with DelDOT to seek funding and studies that would bring Fenwick Island closer to achieving its goals of having a pedestrian path of its own.
“We are being asked to give a presentation to some of the agencies connected with DelDOT …,” she said. “If you see us out with our cameras that’s what we are doing, trying to document the situation.”