BERLIN — As the proposed 40-plus housing development on Tripoli Street continues to work its way through the town approval process, Town Administrator Tony Carson decided to combine his weekly staff meeting with a field trip so the department heads could get a sense of what type of work the town could expect from the developers.
Carson and the staff went to the Bay Forest development in Bethany Beach, Del. to see work done by Natelli Communities, a developer of Main Street Homes they type slated for Tripoli Street in the next 6-9 months.
“I thought it would be a good idea,” Carson said. “We went to lunch; it’s part of the camaraderie we’re developing.”
He said that field trips are often part of the town’s staff meetings. In addition to regularly rotating the meetings between different departments, the town staff occasionally makes team-building trips. Carson said the most recent was an excursion to Annapolis.
For the most part, the staff was impressed with the quality of the homes at Bay Forest. Berlin tends to be wary of national development companies, especially when they have not worked with them before and are unfamiliar with the kinds of communities they build. The trip was an opportunity for the department heads to see a development for themselves before the project in town gets too far along.
Carson made it clear that although the staff visited the development, no staff member received any special considerations from the company or any of its members.
“We bought our own lunch,” he said.
Carson went on to explain that as a policy, both he and town department heads tend to try an err on the side of caution when it comes to potential or even the perceived possibility of gifts. By seriously limiting what is accepted by staffers, he said, there can never be a question of impropriety.