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Expansion Creates Controversy In Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

By HOM Editorial Team
November 2015

The vacation town of Rehoboth Beach is known as “Delaware’s Most Visited City”, and the seaside community is attracting more visitors every season. But the town’s growth has raised concern with residents, as some worry that the inherent charm and peacefulness of Rehoboth will be lost in the continued expansion.

Much of the concern focuses around increasing noise levels and new construction that is changing the city’s landscape. Both of these issues have been addressed by the city with two controversial zoning ordinances that have divided the community.

The Sussex County Association of REALTORS (SCAR) has been a key advocate for the city’s best interest during these heated debates. SCAR ran a public awareness campaign to ensure that residents were given comprehensive information about the proposed changes, empowering them to have a meaningful dialogue with the city’s commissioners. SCAR also demonstrated to commissioners how a large portion of the city’s revenue stream came from real estate transactions.

The first proposed ordinance attempted to address increasing noise levels by banning the use of swimming pools at rental properties, which raised serious concerns with rental property owners. The ordinance was unanimously voted down by the city commissioners. Instead, the commissioners enacted a pool licensing plan that gave the city the right to withdraw licenses in response to excessive noise infractions.

However, a second proposed ordinance that placed restrictions on new home construction did pass. The new law makes it harder for developers and property owners to build large-scale homes by imposing greenspace requirements, backyard setbacks and a square footage cap. Supporters believe that the law will preserve the quaint charm that the older, smaller vacation cottages lent to the community while those opposing it believe it will hamper progress.

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