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In the dumps

Cape Gazette of Lewes, Delaware

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Rehoboth officials contemplate ordinance on dumpsters

A roll-off dumpster taking up three Rehoboth Avenue parking spaces had one property owner down in the dumps.

Until it was removed April 14, Jen Burton grew frustrated with a dumpster in front of Bella Luna, 127 Rehoboth Ave.

Burton leases the store and also owns the shops of Rehoboth Mews in the adjacent alleyway, as well as the Beach Graphics building.

She said the construction dumpster was there since the Sea Witch Festival in October while the building next door to Bella Luna underwent renovations.

Burton said the dumpster hurt Bella Luna's business because it takes up valuable parking spaces and obscures the store from the road.

She said she has no problem with the adjacent store being renovated, but Burton was most frustrated by what she says is a lack of response by city officials. She said the city could have asked for the dumpster to be emptied more often or moved to three parking spaces in the median parking area, so her store could be seen.

In addition to construction trash, Burton said people dumped their residential trash into the dumpster; she said she even saw someone throw a lawn-mower engine in there.

"It's really disheartening for this to happen this long," she said. "It's not OK."

Steve Fallon, owner of Gidget's Gadgets, said the dumpster was in place so long the dirt surrounding it grew its own grass.

"It's been a tediously long process," Fallon said. "Easter weekend we had a lot of complaints. It gets people cranky when there's no parking and it isn't tarped."

Fallon said he learned not to park his car near the dumpster because he got nails in his tires from construction debris that was out of the dumpster.

City Manager Sharon Lynn said the dumpster was permitted on the street between Sept. 15 and May 15.

The 125 Rehoboth Ave. storefront is owned by DNB Rentals of Rehoboth. Building inspector Dam Molina said there is not a lot the city can do, other than to request the dumpster be cleaned. However, city code permitted the dumpster there until May 15.

Commissioner Kathy Mc-Guiness said, "I understand the complaints and was contacted by several business owners. It's my understanding the dumpster was present much longer than originally intended. The good news is it is scheduled to be removed by the end of this week. The best news is a highly visible building in the second block of thriving downtown Rehoboth Beach has been completely revitalized."

Commissioner Stan Mills said, "I have received complaints from not only property owners but also from store owners and citizens about the too-lengthy duration these construction dumpsters sit in public parking spaces — many times when they appear to be filled to the brim and waiting to be hauled."

Mills said he anticipates a discussion of the identified problems and possible resolutions at a future meeting.

He said the city would solicit input from contractors and the public, and investigate what other municipalities do to regulate placement and duration of construction dumpsters.

Burton said she'd like smaller dumpsters, emptied more often and for construction dumpsters to be put in the median parking spaces during the offseason, not in front of storefronts.

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Original Publication Date: April 19, 2016

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