• WATCH: Free events at the beach add extra value
    WATCH: Free events at the beach add extra value
  • WATCH: A new wine experience in Rehoboth
    WATCH: A new wine experience in Rehoboth
  • WATCH: Ocean View Police Department "Officer for a Day"
    WATCH: Ocean View Police Department "Officer for a Day"
  • WATCH: Rosemary Connelly speaks about learning to draw and sketch
    WATCH: Rosemary Connelly speaks about learning to draw and sketch
  • WATCH: Chef Chris Parks shining at Lupo in Rehoboth
    WATCH: Chef Chris Parks shining at Lupo in Rehoboth
  • WATCH: New complaints of sexual misconduct vs. Dewey town manager
    WATCH: New complaints of sexual misconduct vs. Dewey town manager
  • Millsboro says plan to draw business, residents is working
    Millsboro says plan to draw business, residents is working
  • State Senator misses flight when gun found in carry-on
    State Senator misses flight when gun found in carry-on
  • Lawmakers consider fewer Delaware school districts
    Lawmakers consider fewer Delaware school districts
  • Irrigation system turned over during storm in Greenwood
    Irrigation system turned over during storm in Greenwood
  • Possible tornado damage at Delaware Electric Cooperative
    Possible tornado damage at Delaware Electric Cooperative
  • Meet Rehoboth Beach's trash valet company
    Meet Rehoboth Beach's trash valet company
  • Watch: Coast Guard rescues loggerhead turtle off Lewes coast
    Watch: Coast Guard rescues loggerhead turtle off Lewes coast
  • WATCH: Bidens purchase vacation home in Rehoboth area
    WATCH: Bidens purchase vacation home in Rehoboth area
  • WATCH: SoDel's Bluecoast Seafood Grill open in Rehoboth
    WATCH: SoDel's Bluecoast Seafood Grill open in Rehoboth
  • Watch: Police shoot dog during attack on animal control officer
    Watch: Police shoot dog during attack on animal control officer
  • WATCH: Residents, developer argue over White Creek usage in Ocean View
    WATCH: Residents, developer argue over White Creek usage in Ocean View
  • Governor talks plan for prison reform
    Governor talks plan for prison reform
  • Wilmington police investigate shooting on 6th Street
    Wilmington police investigate shooting on 6th Street
  • Wilmington shooting: "This stuff is nonsense"
    Wilmington shooting: "This stuff is nonsense"
  • ILC Dover develops big plug with an even bigger job
    ILC Dover develops big plug with an even bigger job
  • Trinity Carr sentenced to six months in death of Joyner-Francis
    Trinity Carr sentenced to six months in death of Joyner-Francis
24 LINKEDIN 5 COMMENTMORE

It was one of the hottest weeks of the summer. Rehoboth Beach was packed with people trying to escape the abrasive 90-degree-plus heat.

The beach was lined with umbrellas as far as the eye could see, but there was one thing missing that used to dot the beach in years past. There was not a singe canopy in sight.

And this has some beachgoers happy.

BACKGROUND: With tourists incoming, some throw shade at Rehoboth over beach tent rule

READ MORE:  Rehoboth Avenue sidewalk not being closed after all

Frank Maragos, 42, of Culpepper, Virginia, was sitting on the Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk waiting for his family.

He said he and his family visit Rehoboth Beach once a year, and he hadn't heard of the tent and canopy ban before.

The ban, though, didn't bother him because he and his family are "here for the sun."

"They took up too much real estate on the beach," he added. "You can fit more people; more people can enjoy the sun. You can throw up a little umbrella. It's actually a lot better than it has been in previous years."

The Rehoboth Beach tent and canopy ban was first proposed in January of this year and was voted on and approved in March. Rehoboth Beach Commissioner Paul Kuhns served as the lone "nay" vote.

Kuhns was not in favor of a full ban, and he was fearful the ordinance would wind up like the city's attempt to ban renters from using swimming pools or hut tubs on their rental property and be seen as an overreach. 

Ultimately, though, the rest of the board did not agree with him and the ordinance was passed 6-1.

The ban began May 15. About two months after the ban went into effect, there have been 900 requests for tent removal by the Rehoboth Beach Patrol, 274 warnings from the Rehoboth Police Department and three citations from Rehoboth Beach police, said Rehoboth Beach City Manager Sharon Lynn at the July 10 Rehoboth Beach Commissioners meeting.

READ MORE: Rehoboth fire company gets almost $200,000 in funding

Lt. Jamie Riddle, public information officer for the Rehoboth Beach Police Department, said, overall, the reception to the new ordinance has been positive.

"There has been a lot of contact with people," he said. "Both the lifeguards and police department are working to let people know about the ordinance and telling people only umbrellas are allowed. With us working together, a lot of contacts have been made and a lot of people have been educated about the ordinance."

There have been some instances when people are upset when they find out their tent is not allowed, Riddle said. However, he said on a grand scale, they have not received any pushback nor have there been any incidents with people who have been told they need to take their tent down.

And beachgoers are noticing a difference, said Carol Everhart, president of the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce.

Everhart agreed with Riddle that the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive.

"We have only gotten a few complaints about not being able to put them up, but prior to the ordinance we were getting dozens of complaints about the amount of tents," she said.

When she received such a high volume of complaints about the tents and canopies on the beach in previous years, Everhart said she went down to the beach to see just how many there were.

What she saw, she said, justified the tent and canopy ban.

"I knew we had complaints," she said. "I knew we went down and verified this was a problem and that these complaints are legit, and I thought, 'You know, that just goes to really verify it was becoming a proliferation,' and that is why we were getting so many complaints."

People have been putting umbrellas close to each other to simulate a tent or canopy Everhart said, which is allowed by the law.

Everhart was present at the Rehoboth Beach Commissioners meeting on July 10. Hearing the number of warnings issued for umbrellas on the beach showed just how much of an issue the tents and canopies had become, she said.

But there are still those who are upset that this new ordinance is in place.

Bobby Jones, 32, of Toms River, New Jersey, was sitting on a bench in the shade on Rehoboth Avenue on a recent hot afternoon while eating an ice cream cone.

READ MORE: New EMS station near Lewes helps paramedics battle beach traffic

He said he learned about the ban online, and immediately he was upset.

"It almost made me pick a different vacation spot," he said. "On a hot day like today, I need the shade. We need protection from the sun to ensure we don't get skin cancer."

Kathy McGuiness, a Rehoboth Beach commissioner, said she has received "a couple" of emails with complaints about the ban, but she said the overall reaction has been highly positive.

She added the number of thank-you emails for enacting the ban far outnumbered the emails with complaints.

"Overwhelmingly, this has turned out to be a positive experience, which is a good thing," she said. "You want to err on the side of health and safety, but this has turned out to be overwhelmingly positive, too."

Riddle knows the ordinance has been successful because of how it has been received by the public thus far.

He said if it were a bad ordinance, his department along with others would have received more pushback from the general population.

The ordinance is creating a more positive beach experience for those visiting Rehoboth Beach, he added.

"From a visual perspective, as far as one of the major concerns when the ordinance was written, were the tent cities," Riddle said. "Those have been eliminated, and I think there would be a lot more pushback if people were unhappy."

On Twitter @hughesg19

24 LINKEDIN 5 COMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://www.delmarvanow.com/story/news/local/delaware/2017/07/14/two-months-into-tent-ban-reception-has-been-positive/471660001/