The Rehoboth Beach Homeowners Association (RBHA) was established in 1971. Its purpose is stated in the By-Laws.
“The RBHA is operated to promote the common good and general welfare of the homeowners and residents of the City of Rehoboth Beach for their mutual enjoyment and benefit, preservation of quality of life, fostering its spirit of community and to provide a forum for the full and free discussion of all matters of interest.”
History of RBHA
Rehoboth Beach was faced with increasing pressures from developers for more high-rise construction in the early 1970’s. Concerned citizens came together and formed a homeowners organization to oppose this development. The RBHA became a moving force in the passage of a revised building height ordinance to reduce limits from 85 feet to 42 feet in the commercial zones.
Published in March 1972, RBHA’s first newsletter noted that the association has been able to draw the attention of the community “to critical issues confronting Rehoboth Beach such as the dangers of increased high density and related aspects of traffic and parking congestion. . . “ Another newsletter that year enumerated other problems the community faced: building codes, zoning, water resources, beach erosion, ocean dumping, and pollution.
RBHA has been at the forefront of many challenges facing the city over the years. It was the RBHA board that first wrote a report on establishing a tree ordinance and has maintained various committees over the years to study issues related to the environment, preservation, revision and enforcement of city codes, and partnering with other civic organizations to support common issues of importance. The association participated in updating the Comprehensive Development Plan by seeking the input of its members on key issues facing the City.
In 2005, RBHA embarked on the development of a strategic plan and unveiled it along with the launch of the organization’s first website. Noting that the long-time goal had been to “preserve the character of Rehoboth Beach,” the board felt that the character of Rehoboth Beach should be defined. It examined the opinions of residents – old and new – and looked at architecture, history, trees, and other attributes. They found that the unifying characteristic of Rehoboth Beach is the spirit of its people. The City and the RBHA attracts people who believe in community. Quality of life emerged as the category that generated the largest response from residents, with trees, parking, beautification, downtown traffic, and noise named as leading issues.
Communication is the hallmark of the organization. All RBHA board meetings are open to the public and Minutes are available in our print newsletter and on the website. Many homeowners do not live here year-round and are less familiar with the issues. Over the years they have looked to RBHA for guidance. We have used a variety of tools to educate and inform members as well as the community as a whole. The Newsletter, published three times per year, is an important part of the communication process.
General Meetings, held twice each year, also provide an occasion for airing concerns about community issues, receiving input from members and citizens, and providing a platform for speakers from all areas of City, County and State government, civic organizations, and other persons of interest. The highlight of each year is the July meeting at which the RBHA hosts the annual "Meet the Candidates" forum. This is an opportunity for all members of the community to hear and question those seeking the position of Mayor or City Commissioner. The organization has sponsored numerous community activities over the years, including the annual Employee Appreciation Breakfast. Details about these and other events can be found on our Events page.
Although many characteristics of the organization are the same, the RBHA has evolved. For many years, the association endorsed candidates for Mayor or City Commissioner. However, in October 2001, the membership voted to modify the By-Laws to prohibit the endorsement of political office-seekers.
Our community has changed dramatically in the 45 years since the RBHA was founded, yet the concerns of the organization have, for the most part, remained constant. We enjoy living in a lively resort community which hosts thousands of visitors each year. As homeowners, we also cherish the traditional residential character of our one-square-mile City and we have consistently fought to maintain and protect it.