December 22, 2011 at 12:16 pm EDT | by Peter Schott
Rehoboth moves to extend hours for outdoor bars
Blue Moon

Charges against Aqua and Blue Moon dropped when the city realized that it could not effectively enforce patios regulation. (Washington Blade file photo by Joey DiGuglielmo)

REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. — The Rehoboth Beach Board of Commissioners preliminarily voted on Dec. 16 to extend the hours of operation for businesses with patios to 1 a.m., to make those hours comply with end of serving times inside those establishments. Four commissioners and Mayor Sam Cooper voted in favor, one was absent, and Commissioner Stan Mills recused himself from the vote. Mills was cited by the state’s Public Integrity Commission for personally urging the police and mayor to crack down on businesses that he felt were violating regulations regarding restaurant patios.

The issue arose in September 2010, when several business owners were arrested and cited for noise violations, including at LGBT favorites Aqua and Blue Moon. Charges ended up being dropped when the city realized that it could not effectively enforce this regulation, and in one case, when an establishment proved it did not fall under this regulation.

The Commission discussed and debated for several months into the spring, when it voted in March on a moratorium until Jan. 1, 2012, on enforcement of the regulations involving patios.

It was noted during the Commission’s meeting that there were only five complaints filed this summer about patios and noise, a considerable drop from more than 100 last year.

The vote set in motion a procedure to change the regulation, with a public hearing on the proposed change to be held Jan. 20, 2012, followed by a vote by the commissioners.

  • Congratulations to the Rehoboth Beach Commission for finally apppearing to recognize that what brings business to Rehoboth in the summer are outdoor patios. As long as the denizens of this great beach town want their taxes to remain as low as they are they will need to encourage business not make it harder for them to exist.

  • I’m all for drinking into the night, but I’m glad I don’t live or pay taxes next door to these places.

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