Fencing: When is enough, enough
The following letter was sent to the Army Corps of Engineers and Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control with a copy submitted to the Cape Gazette for publication.
As a permanent resident of the second block of Norfolk Street in South Rehoboth Beach for the past seven years, and a property owner there for 30 years, I have watched and appreciated your nurturing management of the dune system over this extended period.
In the mid-80s, our young sons crawled and walked under the Boardwalk to be in shade, look for loose change, and chase cats. Those days are long gone, and thankfully so. Indeed, I stood on the Boardwalk at the height of Superstorm Sandy and watched waves crash on our replenished beach at heights well over my head only a hundred yards or so in front of me. The dune system is well-conceived and executed, especially south of the commercial district.
However, I believe you have lost perspective regarding the height of newly installed fencing on the dunes. Our most precious resource in Rehoboth is our beach. Walking along the Boardwalk in South Rehoboth, one cannot see the water or the beach for blocks.
This weekend, after a casual stroll to the beach to sit on a lifeguard stand for sunset, a habit for many years, I realized new, full-height posts are installed in every walkway over the dunes. These posts are so high, that when fencing is attached, it will be nearly impossible to visually enjoy the beach and ocean.
Moreover, as a frequent observer of the ocean from the Henlopen Curve, you now have installed no fewer than three courses of fencing at full height that obscure a southern view of anything.
Please consider revising your fence policy. Installing knee-height fencing along the walkways, including at “The Curve,” will suffice to channel pedestrian traffic and preserve what is left of a view of the beach and ocean.
The use of such fencing parallel to the boardwalk appears to have successfully channeled folks along the boardwalk and limited footprints on the dunes to very few. The dunes are mature now, and I hope your policy will mature with them.
John K. Darr