Cape Gazette

Dewey town manager taken to task

By Melanie Odlum | Oct 25, 2013

I am writing in response to your Oct. 11 article “Dewey homeowners face suspension of rental license.” As a resident of Dewey Beach who is contemplating improvements to my property, I am particularly appalled at the treatment Marcia Schieck and Rich Hanewinckel have gotten from Town Manager Marc Applebaum.

Having served on a committee to find a town manager for Dewey Beach two years ago, I had the opportunity to learn quite a bit about the role of the town manager. The role is to oversee the town’s departments like police and public works; to make sure that the rules and ordinances are followed; and to apply for grants that will improve the town. The job description for town manager says that s/he “Responds to all constituent issues and concerns in a timely and courteous fashion.”

It seems clear that singling out property owners and subjecting them to needless legal expenses long after they have gotten the required permits and complied with them is a far cry the what the town manager is supposed to do. Actually, it is harassment and it should not be tolerated by the town council members.

The fact that the property owners subjected to this treatment have made substantial improvements to a number of properties in Dewey Beach and have attracted the wholesome, family-oriented type of visitors Dewey Beach would like more of, makes these attacks particularly egregious. Dewey Beach has had more than its share of expensive legal costs because of groups that apparently cannot accept the height limits the vast majority of Dewey Beach residents support; to invite more legal action as it appears Mr. Applebaum is doing, is shocking.

Should this legal action come, it seems clear that the town manager has put the town in an indefensible position. In addition, anyone who secures a permit to improve a property cannot have faith that they too would not be subject to after-the-fact rule changing and harassment.

I strongly urge the town council to put an end to this overreaching behavior by the town manager, apologize to the harmed parties and make them whole.

Melanie Odlum
Dewey Beach

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