Dewey Board Grants Waivers to Bay Resort Hotel

The Dewey Beach Board of Adjustment voted July 12 to approve three waiver requests requested by Moore Blue Water, owner of the Bay Resort Hotel.

Solicitor Glenn Mandalas, representing Moore Blue Water, said that if the deviations were not approved, his client would not be able to make normal, modest improvements to the property.

At the council’s first hearing on the matter in May, the plaintiff requested four waiver requests, two special exemptions and one appeal. The council granted a request to allow a lift bulkhead structure to extend 42 inches above the peak of the roof, but did not act on other requests. At the time, chairwoman Julie Johnson said members had received a lot of information and that votes might not take place that evening.

A waiver has been requested to allow a proposed pool fence and tiered deck to extend 7 feet into the 10 foot back yard setback. A second waiver request was to allow a grade-level cabin to extend 6 feet into the 18-foot front setback, and a third requested a 7.5-inch waiver from the city’s requirement. 12 inches of freeboard.

Applications originally sought but withdrawn by the applicant due to concerns expressed by residents at the May meeting included a request for a waiver to allow a proposed new outdoor pool along Rehoboth Bay to extend 4 feet in the 10-foot side yard setback, a special exception to move an existing gazebo, and an appeal of the building’s city manager’s decision that a proposed outdoor pool is non-compliant.

A meeting scheduled for June was postponed until July 12, when final votes were held on the three remaining waiver requests.

The hotel is in the AE flood zone, Mandalas said, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency requires the structure to be raised 6 feet. The building is raised at 6.4 feet, which puts it 0.4 feet above FEMA’s requirements, but 7.5 inches below the city’s additional 12-inch freeboard requirement, Mandalas said.

Seeking to be exempted from the freeboard requirement, Mandalas said the hotel was compliant when built, but due to regulations enacted since then, it is now a non-legal structure. compliant.

Raising the 30,000-square-foot structure to meet freeboard requirements would be prohibitively expensive, Mandalas said, and raising the floor of the hotel’s first floor would make it non-compliant with required ceiling heights.

“It’s really our test and our practical difficulty,” Mandalas said. “It was built legally. The code has changed, and elevating the whole structure to make these modest improvements would be a real ordeal and a practical difficulty.

The freeboard requirement is a good idea for new construction but not for upgrades, Mandalas said, and the legal standards to apply to the decision do not address flood insurance rates.

Blue Water architect Jeff Schoellkopf said other cities have approved freeboard exceptions of less than a foot with no impact on insurance costs. The net effect of denying the request, Schoellkopf said, would prohibit landowners from upgrading their facilities.

City Attorney Fred Townsend said FEMA allows cities to grant relief from freeboard requirements.

Johnson and board member Rick Dryer voted to approve the 7.5-inch waiver request, saying the building, an existing structure, met FEMA requirements. Board member David Shuey voted against, saying he felt the claimant had not sufficiently substantiated why improvements could not be made without the variance.

Johnson and Dryer also voted to approve a gap that would allow a proposed pool enclosure and tiered deck to extend 7 feet into the 10-foot backyard setback, while Shuey voted against, stating that he feared the discrepancy would set a precedent. . Townsend said there’s already an encroachment on the backhand, and Johnson said all future requests are being assessed on a case-by-case basis.

The waiver request to allow a ground-level cabin to extend 6 feet into the 18-foot front setback was unanimously approved.

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