Dewey Beach Town Council Talks Curfew & 5G Poles


Dewey Beach Town Council has voted to amend the resort’s curfew ordinance and change the current curfew to 11pm seven days a week. Several people spoke on the change during the Council’s meeting Friday afternoon – including Police Chief Constance Speake who says the 11pm curfew allows officials to deal with any juvenile issues that might crop up – before the bars let out and the two groups are on the streets. The curfew is for those 17 and younger – but Speake adds that the police and other officials are not out to target anyone but those loitering or causing problems.

The change comes after the town had trouble with rowdy teens late at night earlier this summer. “All the town did was change two hours, changing Friday and Saturday night from midnight to 11 p.m.,” says Bill Zolper, town manager.

“I think when you look at the town’s curfew code that has been in existence for at least 10 years,” Zolper continues, “[with] our exceptions we are really trying to be accommodating to our citizens and visitors and at the same time keep the large crowds of teenagers under control.”

“We will always when possible try to educate first and do enforcement second,” he said, adding that the change in the curfew is a direct result of the issues and complaints received from Dewey property owners this summer.

Lt. Clifford Dempsey, police spokesman, noted on Sunday that the catalyst for this curfew change was the result of the rowdy crowds of mostly 14 to 17 year olds who overwhelmed police on Independence Day weekend. He said it was an unusual “phenomenon” that involved mostly Delaware teens who apparently were drawn to Dewey from a SnapChat post. Officers were burdened with calls, especially noise complaints caused by teens on the beach which was reminiscent of June bug/senior week. He said starting the curfew at 11 p.m. daily is important as it gives police an extra hour on the weekends to deal with any curfew problems before having to prepare for bar closing.

The change was unanimously approved on Friday by Dewey Beach commissioners. Earlier this summer, commissioners had also voted to increase the juvenile curfew penalty from $100 to $300.

The town had some opposition including this letter from the National Youth Rights Association citing studies from Maryland and Washington, D.C. As a coincidence, Washington, D.C. has just identified neighborhoods where the city will be enforcing the city’s existing curfew starting in September.



A Verizon beachfront 5G antenna on Rodney Ave in Dewey Beach. Image courtesy WGMD/Alan Henney.

The status of the Dewey Beach 5G poles was also updated during Friday’s Council meeting. The new poles are in at Rodney, Cullen and Clayton Streets – and the old poles should be removed in the next few weeks. The pole at Collins Street – town officials are waiting for Delmarva Power to find a good location for it. As for St Louis Street, Delmarva Power is saying that it can’t be moved as there is no other location where they can get power to it. While it’s taken two years to get this far, there is still another year before the $375,000 from the State for relocating the poles expires – in September of 2024.