[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Council of the Town of Bethany Beach 3-17-2006 by Ord. No. 409 (Ch. 115 of the 1992 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter is authorized by § 4 of the Town Charter.
It is declared that substantial erosion of the banks of the waterways within the corporate limits of the Town of Bethany Beach has resulted in significant shoaling of such waterways and unless the erosion is abated, public and private property as well as the waterways will sustain considerable damage that the inevitable and continual shoaling of the waterways will prevent proper tidal flushing and contribute to the pollution of the waterways and impede navigation of boats to the adjoining inland waterways and bays. Therefore it is declared to be the public policy of the Town to protect and preserve the waterways and public and private property abutting the waterways within the Town by approved bank stabilization and/or erosion control devices if needed and requiring the maintenance of all property abutting the Towns waterways so as to prevent such erosion.
A parcel of real property will be determined to be in need bank stabilization and/or erosion control if a portion of the property has eroded into the Town's waterways causing significant damage to and/or flooding of said property and threatens significant damage to and/or flooding of adjoining properties.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- BANK STABILIZATION/EROSION CONTROL DEVICE
- Any structure device and/or material used to prevent shoreline erosion and bank stabilization, provided such construction has met all state federal and local regulations and permitting requirements, bank stabilization and/or erosion control devices shall be required if needed on all real property abutting the Town's waterways.
The Town shall conduct an annual inspection of all shorelines to determine whether any properties are in violation of the bank stabilization and/or erosion control requirement and whether any bank stabilization and/or erosion control devices are in need of repair as described hereinafter. Whenever the Code Enforcement Officer determines that there exists a violation of any of the sections of this chapter, he or she shall provide written notice thereof to the owner setting out the conditions constituting the violation, with reference to the governing code section; within a reasonable time limit, not to exceed 90 days, the owner will demonstrate to the Code Enforcement Officer that the repair/permitting process has begun to correct the violation noticed above. At the end of this ninety-day period, if there is no demonstrable evidence of a good faith effort on the part of the owner to correct the violation, the Code Enforcement Officer will issue a written notice of violation with reference to the governing code section. The owner may file a written notice of appeal of the Code Enforcement Officer's determination to the Town Council within 30 days of the date of the notice of the violation. Such notice of violation shall be served upon the owner by personal delivery to the owner or to an adult person residing at the owners address or by depositing such notice into the U.S. mails with proper postage affixed addressed to the owner at the owner's mailing address as shown on the Town's records or in the event that delivery in person or by regular mail is not possible by posting such notice in a conspicuous place on the premises.
The Code Enforcement Officer will then review at ninety-day intervals the progress of the repair/permitting process of the violation. If there is no demonstrable evidence of a good faith effort in the repair/permitting process to correct the violation on the part of the owner, the Code Enforcement Officer will issue a written notice of violation with reference to the governing code section. The owner may file a written notice of appeal of the Code Enforcement Officers determination to the Town Council within 30 days of the date of the notice of the violation. Such notice of violation shall be served upon the owner by personal delivery to the owner or to an adult person residing at the owners address or by depositing such notice into the U.S. mails with proper postage affixed addressed to the owner at the owner's mailing address as shown on the Town's records, or in the event that delivery in person or by regular mail is not possible, by posting such notice in a conspicuous place on the premises. Delivery of notice shall be deemed complete upon personal delivery if so delivered upon depositing the notice in the U.S. mails if mailed and upon posting the property if posted.
If an appeal is requested, it shall be commenced within 30 days after the request is received. The Town Council shall preside over the appeal hearing. If, after a hearing, the Town Council finds that no violation exists, the Code Enforcement Officer shall withdraw the notice. If the Town Council finds that a violation does exist, the property owner shall begin or continue the repair/permitting process to correct the violation within 30 days. The proceedings of the appeal, including the findings and decision of the Town Council, shall be summarized, reduced to writing, and entered as a matter of public record in the office of the Code Enforcement Officer. Failure to comply with the decision of the Town Council may result in penalties stated in § 448-9 of this chapter.
It shall be unlawful to proceed under the terms of this chapter until a building permit for such work has been issued. All permitting under this section will be subject to engineering review by the Town of Bethany Beach and all associated costs will be borne by the permit applicant. The Town Council may approve a form application for this purpose and set fees for the administration of this chapter. Prior to issuance of a Town permit, the petitioner shall present copies of valid DNREC and Sussex County building permits for the work.
Where any premises that is determined by the Code Enforcement Officer to be in violation of this chapter and such violation remains uncorrected by the property owner as outlined in § 448-5A and/or B of this chapter or where any premises that the Town Council determines to be in violation of this chapter after an appeal from the Code Enforcement Officer's determination remains uncorrected, the Town shall arrange for the necessary corrections to the property to be made where possible and will bill the property owner for the cost thereof plus the penalty specified in Subsection B below. If not paid when due, the costs for making the necessary corrections to the property will be added to the Town's annual tax bill and as such shall constitute a lien on the property.
In addition to any other fee or penalty imposed by this section any person found guilty of violating this chapter upon conviction by any court of competent jurisdiction pay such fine as set forth in Chapter 1, General Provisions, Article I, Penalties. Pursuant to 25 Del. C. § 2901(a)(1)(i), such fine costs and assessment shall constitute a lien upon the property. Every thirty-day period after a notice of violation or at end of an appeal to the Town Council of a continuing violation shall constitute a separate offense punishable as such.