Ocean View addresses sinkhole, storm damage, drainage

Ken Cimino, director of Planning, Zoning & Development for the Town of Ocean View, during his monthly report to the town council on Tuesday, Sept. 10, said his department had responded to a report of a sinkhole in the road at The Preserve at Ocean View.

Inspection revealed it was caused by a defect in a 15-inch pipe, and it will be repaired, he said. Funding will come from money budgeted in the 2020-fiscal-year budget for miscellaneous pipe repairs.

Also reported to the council on Sept. 10:

• Street sweeping completed — The semi-annual street sweeping contract was awarded to D&J Sweeping of Laurel. Sweeping was done in Savannah’s Landing and communities north of Route 26 to the Assawoman Canal and completed on July 29.

• Trees, debris removed after storm — Overnight thunderstorms on July 22 produced rain and high winds, causing downed and uprooted trees throughout Ocean View. Herker Property Maintenance was contacted and responded with manpower and equipment within two hours of the July 23 request.

Herker also removed tree stumps. Debris was cleared from roadways and from John West Park, for a total cost of $3,970. Cimino said the project was supervised by Jerrad Steele of the Town’s Facilities Maintenance Department, with assistance from the Planning & Development staff.

• Drainage project updates — The Woodland Park drainage project has been completed, at a cost of $618,900.

Concerning the Woodland Avenue drainage project, Cimino said Sussex Conservation has completed the semifinal inspection and has three items left to address: overseeding in one small area where growth was not established to its satisfaction, and two areas of riprap scour protection that have been silted in and must be cleaned out.

There is not yet a cost estimate.

• Drainage survey completed — The survey of the drain basin that conveys stormwater from the surrounding area to the drainage system that runs to and through The Cottages and Kelley Estates, then to Whites Creek, has been completed, Cimino said, adding that he expects to have the concept design by fall.

• Road pipes to be cleaned, video inspected — The Town contracted with Standard Pipe Services in Bear, Del., to clean and video-inspect all Town-owned and -maintained roadway pipes, at a cost of $6,456. The money was budgeted in the Capital Improvement Program.

The work is being done to further investigate after a small hole was discovered in the roadway at the intersection of Avon Park and Brighton Street in the Avon Park Community, Cimino said.

It was discovered the asphalt-coated corrugated metal pipe has begun to deteriorate under the road. The roadway pipe system in Avon Park conveys surface water from the Town-owned roadways to stormwater management facilities throughout the community, he said.

• Signage permits issued — In August, 48 building and sign permits were issued and 21 certificates of occupancy.

• Grant application — Cimino said his department applied for a Surface Water Matching Planning Grant with the Delaware Water Infrastructure Advisory Council for the Hudson Avenue culvert replacement. If the project is selected, the Town could receive up to $50,000 to be used for planning and preliminary engineering.

• Comprehensive Plan vision statement — Cimino said the Town is working toward a clear vision that reflects community preferences.

The vision statement was refined “based on feedback and goals that were identified to accomplish the vision,” he said.

The vision statement is: “In striving to become a complete community, Ocean View, Delaware, with the support of an involved citizenry, is attempting to further define its unique character by introducing new transportation options, improving connectivity, supporting mixed and efficient uses of land, honoring our history, promoting healthy and engaging environments and encouraging business diversity and job growth. In short, the future complete Ocean View community will in turn be a place where people want to live as well as work and visit.”

• Stop signs replaced — Stop signs have been replaced by the maintenance staff in many communities, generally because they were faded or sign assembly wasn’t up to standards.

• Shrubs pruned — Pruning and shaping of shrubs at John West Park, Town Hall and 201 Central Avenue will be completed after Sept. 15 by Herker Property Maintenance at a cost of $646.

• Town council gets excellent audit report — Ashley Stern, manager of the accounting firm PKS & Company, presented an overview of the recent town audit to the town council and praised staff for being “wonderful to work with.”

“There were no difficulties or disagreements with management during the audit and there were no significant problems,” she said.

The opinion report gives the Town the highest level of confidence that can be achieved, she said, with no internal weaknesses or non-compliances.

Total assets increased by about $2 million, plus three new police vehicles.

“The Town is sitting in strong health,” she said.

“The Town spends a lot of time working on its budget. This is one of the closest-budgeted towns I have ever seen. Department heads, the town manager, really did monitor that budget and were on target for what they were expecting,” Stern said.

• Financial report — Dawn Mitchell Parks, finance director for Ocean View, said 2020-fiscal-year tax bills were processed and postmarked by the end of May for the assessments posted on Feb. 15. Property tax bills totaled $2.1 million, and $1.9 million had been collected prior to this week, plus another $78,000 collected early this week.

By the end of September, the Town should be ahead of where is was last year, she said.

Transfer taxes collected through July 13 are 56.5 percent from new construction home sales, with 5.3 percent of new construction being from land sales, developer to builder, and 43.5 percent resales of existing homes. She said August sales are not yet available, but she estimated $180,000 in transfer tax for August.

• Police chief report — Ocean View Police Chief Ken McLaughlin said the police department has been involved with Special Olympics events throughout the summer and will have a bike regatta on Sept. 19 at the police department.

“The public is invited to come out and cheer the participants on,” he said.

• Volunteer hours — Volunteers spent 177 hours at the police department in July.

• Hazardous waste, shredding day — A hazardous waste and shredding event is planned for Saturday, Sept. 14. It will be from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Hocker’s Super Center. “This is to safely discard any paperwork or personal information,” McLaughlin said of the shredding opportunity.

• Town manager’s report — Town Manager Carol Houck, during her monthly report, said the Town will host the Sussex County Association of Towns (SCAT) dinner meeting in May next year. The location and details are forthcoming.

• Cops & Goblins — The fifth annual Cops & Goblins Halloween celebration is planned for 1 to 4 p.m. on Oct. 26 in John West Park, with a rain date of Oct. 27.

Guests can masquerade in costume and enjoy free cheeseburgers and slices of pizza. Also planned are horseback riding, a petting zoo, carnival rides, a disc jockey playing music, pumpkin decorating and costume contests.

• Holiday event — Old Town Holiday & Tree Lighting, a new event for Ocean View, is set for 1 to 6 p.m. on Nov. 30 in John West Park, with a rain date of Dec. 1.

There will be train rides through the park, holiday tree sales, roasted chestnuts for sale, vendors selling unique items and entertainment by the Indian River High School Choir, Mariners Bethel Hand Bell Choir and Notes on the Beach. The Ocean View Historic Society will have homes open and decorated for tours and a special visitor will arrive from the North Pole.

• Chicken Festival — The Ocean View Historic Society will sponsor the Delaware Chicken Festival in June 2020 at John West Park. This will be a fundraiser for the society, to help them complete their Hall’s Store facility and fund other needs.

“The former Delmarva Chicken Festival — this will be an attempt to replicate some of it, but it won’t be as large,” Houck said.

“Lots of neat things are planned. We are getting a lot of good support from the community and the chicken industry in this area, as well,” she said.

• Public Wi-Fi proves popular — Houck said the Town has been testing public Wi-Fi in John West Park in recent months. The wireless network is named OceanViewPark_guest and 139 people had connected as of last week. A total of 74 hours were spent online in August, with 45 hours used to search for businesses. The Wi-Fi is available from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., and is secure, with parental controls, “and seems to be something our community is responding to,” she said.

• Operations pamphlet — Houck, with her staff, prepared the “Town of Ocean View, Delaware, Operations and Services At A Glance” pamphlet, in response to residents and real estate agents asking for information, such as details about councils, boards and commissions, and services provided by the Town.

Services include fingerprinting services by appointment with the police department, notary service by appointment with the town clerk, pavilion rentals at John West Park and mosquito control. Details are also on the Town’s Website at www.oceanviewde.com.

• Lifelong learning — Fall programming for the University of Delaware Lifelong Learning Institute has begun, and town staff members will “discuss the opportunity for additional days and courses being added to our location,” Houck said.

“New projectors were installed at Town Hall and are available for our use, as well,” she said.

• The Wall That Heals — The replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, The Wall That Heals, will be at the VFW Post 7234 from Oct. 3 to 6. Additional activities are planned, and it will be open to the public around the clock during that period.

• Lighting on Ogre Drive — Ocean View Town Council approved improvements to lighting on Ogre Drive in Ocean Way Estates.

Councilman Tom Maly said there are no streetlights or sidewalks there, and no parking allowed on the streets. Plus, there are drainage swales on each side of the street.

A dozen acorn-type lights will be installed to improve safety, and traffic studies will be completed “to see what else can be done to improve safety there,” Maly said.

“We had a meeting on Aug. 31, which was very well-attended by the residents. The town manager got a flier out. There must have been 40 people there,” he said.


By Susan Canfora

Staff Reporter