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The Rehoboth Beach Planning Commission has been tasked with reviewing and making recommendations on changes to the site plan review process. The planning body began this review on September 9 with a high-level discussion of possible topics to consider moving forward.

Planning Commission Lawyer Luke Mette introduced the topic. He said the review came from city commissioners after staff approved planning permission for the old Sandcastle Motel without the redevelopment project going to the planning commission for review. The commissioners are looking for recommendations on how the city’s code clarity could be improved with respect to the site plan review process, he said.

Mette provided specific examples of things the planning commission might consider – new definitions or changes to existing definitions; a new automatic review requirement for beachfront properties; rezoning.

Following the introduction, members of the planning commission discussed additional items to consider. They discussed the order of events between the planning commission and the adjustment board – should a candidate first obtain a waiver and then report to the planning commission, or should the candidate present before the planning commission to get conceptual support for a project before going to the adjustment board and then back for a full site plan review? Also discussed were the deadlines by which applicants can submit documents for review by the planning commission, the thresholds that trigger the review, the schedules for the planning commission to respond to applicants, and the requirement that all legal issues are resolved before the planning commission reviews a site plan. exam.

City Building Inspector Matt Janis said he would like less ambiguity in the code.

The planning commission is expected to resume a more detailed discussion at its next meeting, scheduled for Friday, October 14.

A meeting of a few firsts

The Sept. 9 meeting was the commission’s first since May, when it delivered the city’s new comprehensive development plan to city commissioners.

It was the group’s first in-person meeting since Planning Commissioner Michael Bryan took over as chair in August 2021 and for Mette, who took over as planning commission counsel in January.

It was also engineer Nick Walls’ first meeting. He will serve as an urban planner as needed and work for the Wallace Montgomery engineering firm based in Maryland.