Concrete weighs heavy on Selbyville Town Council

After concrete debris has piled up at a Selbyville business, the Selbyville Town Council is preparing to suspend and revoke the business license of SMI Services, a site maintenance company.

In July, the Town sent a cease-and-desist letter regarding the storing of concrete debris, which is not a permitted use for the property at 20 Railroad Avenue.

“Recycling concrete in a little town is not what we want,” Councilmember Jay Murray said at the Oct. 6 council meeting. “I think the property owner should be getting worried, myself.”

Andrew Principe holds the business license but doesn’t own the property.

“He can come to the next meeting to make his case” as to why the Town should not revoke his license, Town Manager Bob Dickerson said of Principe.

“Are they hauling it there now?” Councilmember Frank Smith III asked.

“We have evidence that they were,” Dickerson said, “photographic evidence of a truck dumping it out. He’s just ignoring us.”

“Somebody’s got to clean this stuff up,” Mayor Clifton Murray said.

After three certified letters to Principe were returned unclaimed, the council said, they wanted to ensure he received proper notification of his council hearing.

“We’ve got to make sure we do this legally, so he can’t say we didn’t do this properly,” Jay Murray said.

Police update

Due to an injury, the Selbyville Police Department is currently down one officer and likely will be until after the new year. But SPD recently won a state grant for overtime patrols through Halloween and the holidays.

Police Chief W. Scott Collins lauded officer A.J. McKechnie for helping solve a string of armed robberies throughout Sussex County. He spotted and caught the getaway vehicle, apprehending the driver and recovering some weapons. That solved around nine armed robberies, Collins said. Meanwhile, another state investigator on that case is a former SPD officer.

Collins said he is also pleased that Probation & Parole will return to help patrol on Halloween.

“They will more than double our manpower,” Collins said. “They do check on all registered sex offenders in the Selbyville ZIP code, and patrol in town with us, make sure that … no other felony probationers are on the streets. They were a huge help year.”

Also, Collins reported, citizens dropped off more than 45 pounds worth of drugs in the recent prescription drug take-back.

Planning the flood plain

“We’re mandated by the EPA and national flood organization folks to redo flood plain ordinances to regulate construction in our flood plain,” Dickerson said. “If we don’t, they will not provide flood insurance in the town.”

The lowest elevation in Selbyville town limits is along Polly Branch Road, near the Food Lion, Mountaire and Southern Delaware School of the Arts. The deadline for new standards is March of 2015.

On top of EPA’s mandate, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control has created a sample document with additional suggestions.

“We said we’re going to stick with what’s required by the EPA,” Dickerson said. “The EPA says you can have a base flood elevation at the flood plain level. … Do we want at level, or above?”

Because insurance is often cheaper when houses are built above base flood elevation lines, “Most towns that are really affected are looking to go a foot above, which makes sense,” he said.

The town council may review a draft of the measures next month.

In other Selbyville news:

• Dickerson recently toured the Mountaire poultry processing plant, which Selbyville has had difficulty with recently, with strong odors spreading across town from the plant.

“If any council members want to tour the plant, it’s really something to see. We tried to isolate where we thought the odor problem may be coming from. We had a couple ideas where we think it may be emanating from,” Dickerson said. “It’s been better.”

He said possible problem areas may have been a “blood truck” that is loaded several times daily or the wastewater treatment system.

The council also briefly discussed traffic safety at Mountaire.

“When we interfere with traffic, there have to be certified flaggers,” Jay Murray said. “You dedicate two people to that job all day long, anywhere you back trucks in and out.”

• In bringing fiber optic Internet connections to the town’s industrial park, Sussex County will pay 50 percent of the $14,750 price tag, Dickerson said.

But the State of Delaware had no funding to spare, so Selbyville will have to pay for the other half. The line would run from the Maryland border to the nearby industrial park.

“It’s like bringing roads in, bringing electric in. It’s just another utility we’re bringing in. All the businesses can benefit,” Dickerson said. “It’s a very good investment in our park.”

• Striping was painted on Polly Branch Road, but it allows for passing in a 25 mph zone, said Smith. With many people using that street, he asked Collins to request a solid line there instead.

• Officials asked that people report streetlight outages to Town Hall at (302) 436-8314.

• On Clendaniel Avenue, seven small lots were merged into two large lots, owned by Kevin Lynch and Jean Lynch, at the Selbyville Pet & Garden site. Buildings are already placed across the property lines, and it will make setbacks easier than on long, narrow lots, Dickerson said.

• Dick Martin is purchasing the old Flex Carpet property for a used car dealership. He has approached Planning & Zoning with his intentions. To get a business license, the dealership must have paving, repair shop, bathrooms, a showroom and office facility and no trailers.

• The Selbyville Public Library will host its annual Haunted Library from 6 to 8 p.m. on Halloween. “It’s gonna be scary,” said director Kelly Kline, “but if you know any kids that want to come through, bring them.”

The next regular Town Council meeting is Monday, Nov. 3, at 7 p.m.