Delaware Beach City Wants to Ban Renters from Using Vacation Home Pools

Rehoboth wants visitors to enjoy the boardwalk and beach, but not rented pools.

June 10, 2015, 1:08 PM
PHOTO: The boardwalk at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, Aug. 26, 2011.
The boardwalk at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, Aug. 26, 2011.
Linda D. Epstein/MCT via Getty Images

— -- Some residents of a beach city in Delaware have had enough with summer noise and so the city may ban renters from using pools in vacation homes.

Rehoboth Beach's board of commissioners will vote on June 19 on a number of proposed ordinances, including banning vacation renters from using rented-home pools by 2018.

The city's population is 1,398, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, but it swells considerably in the summer as visitors enjoy the local beach and boardwalk. The proposal, written by Mayor Sam Cooper, would require homeowners who rent to visitors lock and cover pools during rental periods.

At least one board commissioner is against the proposal. To pass, the proposal would need a majority vote of the seven elected officials, including Cooper.

"We do have a noise ordinance," commissioner Kathy McGuiness told ABC News, referring to the quiet hours from 11 p.m. to 8 a.m. "At this point, the pools aren't causing the noise. The people are causing the noise. Let's let the city manager and police manage the issues at hand, including noise."

McGuiness said the quiet hours have helped. She said there were only about a dozen noise complaints over Memorial Day Weekend, which resulted in only one citation for a tourist around 3 a.m. Half of the noise complaints were for owners, not renters, she notes.

"That does not support moving forward with locking pools," said McGuiness, who is concerned like many fellow proposal opponents that locking pools would hurt the tourist economy.

"The PR already is not helping," McGuiness said.

McGuiness predicts that the board will pass the measure. She proposes instead that the city collect more data this summer from police reports before making a decision. The city planner estimates that Rehoboth has more than 100 pools, which McGuiness said does not include hot tubs.

"It's all been hunky-dory, and along came the pools, and now it's turned upside-down," Cooper said Monday at the commissioners' latest public workshop, reported The News Journal. "It's an attractive nuisance, if you will. As long as it's there, there's going to be people making outsized noises related to that pool."

The Sussex County Association of Realtors is opposed to the pool proposal.

"Visitors expect a certain level of amenities when they choose coastal Delaware as their vacation destination," Sandy Greene, chair of the association's public policy committee, told The News Journal. "This proposed ordinance will, in essence, bite the hand that feeds it."

Besides the pool vote, the commissioners are discussing a number of measures, including creating limits on home size development to forbid homes with six bedrooms or more.

Cooper and Greene did not respond to requests for comment.

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