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Planning Commission News Update
The City of Rehoboth Beach Planning Commission remains hard at work during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Although the Pandemic intrusion prevents us from doing “business as usual”, we are learning to adapt to the challenges that confront all of us during this trying time period. We recognized early in this crisis that the Planning Commission’s work needed to continue. We are, therefore, taking advantage as much as possible of the opportunities to utilize technology to keep the wheels of the Planning Commission turning to serve the needs of our community.
Back to Business is the New Normal: The COVID-19 Pandemic has interfered in the “normal” work of the Planning Commission, creating delays. It is important to us that you know that we are again “open for business” – even if we need to adapt the way in which we conduct business. Fortunately, the City has made the technology available to allow us to meet and carry on business. At our very first virtual meeting on May 8th, we will resume deliberation on pending applications and begin to continue the daily work of the Planning Commission on a going-forward basis – such as sketch plan and site plan reviews, partitioning applications, consideration of Code amendment recommendations to the Board of Commissioners, and any other matters that come to the Planning Commission.
2020 Comprehensive Development Plan Status: After we were forced to cancel our anticipated CDP Expos in April and May, we adopted a new approach to continuing to gather information and data needed for the development of our 2020 Comprehensive Development Plan (2020 CDP). Consistent with our overall approach of “total engagement” by the Planning Commissioners, each of the Planning Commissioners agreed to take responsibility to interview one or more of the numerous organizations that serve our City and the various City committees that operate as part of our City government. These interviews are designed to collect data that becomes part of the mandated “Community Character” section of the 2020 CDP. We are conducting these interviews either by telephone or e-mail communications.
At the end of last year, the newly constituted Planning Commission reset the focus and approach to complete the 2020 CDP process within the extended deadline of January 31, 2021. Despite the severity of the COVID-19 Pandemic’s impact, we remain resolute in our desire to achieve that goal. Beginning in June, we anticipate developing the initial goals and strategies for consideration as part of our 2020 CDP. Once this step is complete, a draft 2020 CDP will be presented for input to the Planning Commission, City Commissioners, community stakeholders, and the general public. The input from these parties will allow the Planning Commission to add further substance and bring meaning to the data we have already sourced. The Planning Commission will continue to revise the draft 2020 CDP until we are satisfied that we have captured all the relevant information.
In light of current conditions, we are working with the Office of State Planning Coordination on our timeline to ensure that the public comment process will afford time for meaningful inputs, including presentations by interested parties, that are important to the development of the 2020 CDP. We are optimistic that with your patience, assistance, support – and a little help from technology – we will be able to timely produce a final 2020 CDP that will responsibly and pragmatically guide the future of our City.
Patience is a Virtue: The old adage “patience is a virtue” has more meaning now than ever. As we all struggle to deal with COVID-19 inconveniences and obstacles, we ask for your patience and understanding. We are doing our level best to continue the work of the Planning Commission. We are all, however, learning how to adapt to the use of new technologies, keeping in regular touch with each other to work on various matters, and, at the same time, adhering to the legal requirements and limitations under which we operate (e.g., FOIA). Please bear with us.
If you have any questions about how to participate in any of our virtual meetings or to request that your organization is contacted to participate in the local organization interviews, please contact Ann Womack at [email protected] and for questions about the submission of applications, please contact Damalier Molina at [email protected] or Matthew Janis at [email protected] or any of them at 302-227-6181 ext. 222.
Comprehensive Development Plan
The Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) is the principal document outlining the City of Rehoboth Beach's goals and policies regarding the use of land. It has been designed as a policy statement that should remain valid in the face of change over the years. Properly used, the Plan is the basis for decision-making at all levels of government and will guide the public and private sectors toward beneficial activities affecting its people and land. This Plan has several specific purposes:
- Create a unified set of goals for change and development within and surrounding the City.
- Become the central source of guidance on proposed public activities by coordinating them to ensure that each contributes to the adopted goals.
- Apply the individual tools of planning within the framework of an overall Plan so that regulation is not arbitrarily applied.
- Guide private land-use decisions by providing information on the overall direction of the community.
- Provide analysis and policies that will allow assimilation of the unexpected to the City's advantage, turning problem into opportunity.
- Preserve the more fragile among desirable land-use arrangements and harmonize the sometimes conflicting desires of preserving an asset and using it.
And the final purpose is to...
- Help Rehoboth Beach operate as a “citizen” of Delaware by adopting and following the Land-Use Goals for Delaware.
The City maintains regulations and restrictions to lessen congestion in the streets, to secure safety from fire, panic and other dangers, to promote health and general welfare, to provide adequate light and air, to prevent overcrowding of land, to avoid undue concentration of population and to facilitate the adequate provision of transportation, water, sewerage, schools, parks, and other public requirements. The regulations are made with reasonable consideration, among other things, as to the character of the district and its peculiar suitability for particular uses and with a view to conserving the value of buildings and encouraging the most appropriate use of land throughout the municipality.
These regulations and restrictions are contained within Chapter 270 of the City Code for the purpose of promoting public health, safety, morals or the general welfare of the City of Rehoboth Beach and are known as the “Rehoboth Beach Zoning Ordinance".
The use of all land and any building or portion of a building erected or altered with respect to size and area added to or relocated, and every use within a building or use accessory thereto, shall be in conformity with the provisions of this chapter.