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Fenwick Island: Dredging Negotiations Continue

Posted on April 10, 2023

Officials say negotiations with a local developer are ongoing as the town identifies a placement site for its dredging project.

Late last month, Councilman Bill Rymer presented members of the Fenwick Island Town Council with an update on the long-awaited dredging project of the Little Assawoman Bay. As permitting work continues, he said officials were working with Carl M. Freeman Companies to utilize their Route 54 property as a dredging placement site.

“We are working with our environmental attorney throughout the entire process,” he said. “We are hopeful we can finalize an agreement, but obviously we need to make sure it’s a contract the Town of Fenwick Island and this council can support. Hopefully I’ll have more clarity over the next two weeks.”

Plans to dredge roughly 19,000 cubic yards of material from the Little Assawoman Bay began in earnest in 2018, when the town hired Tony Pratt, a former administrator for the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), to guide them through the funding and permitting processes. And in 2019, Anchor QEA, a Lewes-based engineering firm, was brought on board to provide design, bidding and construction management.

Earlier this year, committee members reconvened to discuss three potential placement sites for material that will ultimately be dredged from the Little Assawoman Bay. Rymer, committee chair, said that while the town continues to explore locations such as Seal Island and Seatowne, it is now looking closely at a parcel of land off Route 54 owned by Carl M. Freeman Companies.

“This was the location that was being discussed two years ago,” he said in January. “Their timeframe had changed, so about one-and-a-half years ago they told the town they were going to proceed with their development plans without utilizing our dredged material. However, they came back to us late last fall.”

From those discussions, Rymer said, came a renewed interest in partnering with the town and using its dredged materials on the company’s property. He said the town is working with its solicitor to draft a legal agreement that could allow the partnership, and permitting, to move forward.

“We’re negotiating with the developer to have access to their property to place materials there,” he explained in an interview last week. “As part of our overall dredging permit application, not only do you have to talk about the dredging project, but you have to get a permit for placing the material. We need a place to put it, before permitting can move forward.”

Rymer said the town is working with Anchor QEA to complete permitting work related to a potential dredging and placement project at the Route 54 property. He said other placement locations are also under consideration.

“We need to find a place to place the material …,” he said. “We’re hopeful we can get this agreement done.”


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