Dewey: Build it and move on
After attending yet another Dewey Beach meeting about the development commonly known as Ruddertowne, I left with very mixed feelings. I was happy and proud because our new state Sen. Ernie Lopez, had done such a fine job of bringing together the relevant state agency reps to once again effectively answer all pertinent questions about the project, and hopefully to finally lay to rest all the negative, and mostly unfounded rumors. Unfortunately, I was also very tired of the whole protracted process in general. It seems that some people want this battle to go on forever, no matter how much of the town's money is spent.
The initial wrangling over the project and associated costs to the town were likely within the bounds of logic. We all know that we need to be very proactive and protective of our local municipalities, to make sure that no one group of residents, property owners or business people overwhelms the town as a whole. However, the free for all in Dewey has gone on for far too long. It appears to me that this has evolved into just another partisan battle in the long theater known as Dewey Beach politics. While some said the owner-developer was pushing way too far and would create another Ocean City, others said it was time for Dewey to become a more modern community and give up the old ways of doing things. Still others wanted Dewey to remain as it had always been, without any changes at all. It looked as though no one wanted to learn the age-old art of political compromise.
Finally, after way too many lawyers were paid way too much money, the elected officials and the developer agreed to a legally binding, mutually beneficial agreement. Neither side got all they wanted from the other, but they appeared to get what was deemed beneficial to all town stakeholders.
Dewey Beach Budget and Finance Committee members have said the town could experience another large shortfall. Because of unexpected increased property transfer taxes, the actual deficit will likely not end up being as severe as possible, but, at a time when the town is already too far in debt and when too many thousands of dollars have already been spent on this issue, I believe all property owners and residents should fully support the town commissioners' and developer's legal and binding commitment to the finalization of this project.
Let's stop pointing the finger of fault and dragging our collective feet. Move on to the more important issues of our ongoing budget deficit and the very real probability of future sea level rise. Both of these threaten the very existence of Dewey Beach and our way of life far more then the Ruddertowne development ever could. Enough! Dewey needs to just move on, now.
Dale H. Cooke