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Dewey Beach looks to take sole control over wireless tower permitting

Delaware Public Media

Dewey Beach’s town commissioners are negotiating with DelDOT to gain sole control over permitting new wireless towers in the town.


After passing an ordinance earlier this month giving the city permitting authority over new wireless tower installations, the commissioners are now working to amend a 1986 agreement with DelDOT.


The amendment would essentially transfer authority allowing new wireless towers over to the city, except for along routes 1 and 1A.


Commissioner Gary Persinger says this will give the city the control it wants.


“By virtue of the fact that we’ve already passed an ordinance that includes design standards, we already have a measure of control, we already have a permitting authority, we have a basis on which to turn down a permit application — but we don’t have sole control," said Persinger.


But commissioners remain concerned about an eight foot area between the end of the road and the beach — and who has right of way there.


Commissioner David Jasinski says since the most egregious poles have gone up in that eight foot area, which DelDOT says is owned by DNREC, he doesn’t want to approve the agreement as proposed.


Commissioner Paul Bauer says hashing out who controls that area - DNREC, DelDOT or the town is very important.


“I don’t have a problem having the agreement cause given the choice I’d rather have control of it versus not having control of it — But I think we have some work to do on it, on the legal language to define this, not just with DelDOT and the state, but also with DNREC," Bauer said.


Bauer worries if this right of way issue isn’t resolved, a wireless company could go to DNREC for a permit rather than work with the town.


The commissioners voted unanimously to remove that eight foot buffer zone, and want to work to hash out this right of way dispute.


That proposal heads back to DelDOT for their acceptance or modification.

Roman Battaglia grew up in Portland, Ore, and now reports for Delaware Public Media as a Report For America corps member. He focuses on politics, elections and legislation activity at the local, county and state levels.
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