Why some of Biden's Delaware neighbors are speaking up
Correction: This story has been updated to correct Steven Hollman's last name.
President-elect Joe Biden said he'd be a president for all Americans.
With a few more days until he is sworn in, some of his Delaware neighbors are already seeing what's to come – at least in the form of security.
The Secret Service did not respond to questions about what kind of security measures they are taking at the president-elect's homes in Greenville and North Shores – the Rehoboth Beach community where the Bidens purchased a home in 2017.
But a director of a Philadelphia-based medical and travel security assistance business said neighbors should expect an increase in everything from when Biden was vice president.
"You're going to have more of a lot of things," said Jeremy Prout, director of security solutions for International SOS. "The biggest change and the biggest impact that individuals get and neighbors are going to have is traffic."
Prout said to expect a change in traffic patterns and security patrols when Biden is at his home.
This can already be seen in Greenville, where the stretch of Barley Mill Road that passes in front of Biden's home has been shut to through traffic. While Biden's North Shores' neighbors have not seen the daily impact that people in Greenville have, they got a taste of that around the New Year's holiday when the president-elect and family stayed at their Yale-blue home there.
Michael Horning, who owns a house a few streets down from Biden's, said the security detail blocked off several roads in the community.
The road closure included a checkpoint with concrete barriers, police cars, Secret Service and "black trucks everywhere," Horning said. That also meant that people driving through, hoping to see Biden, were forced onto Horning's street.
"What happens when they divert people is ... everybody comes by my house on the way out," he said. "It's just a steady flow of traffic all day long."
Horning said he'd like to see the checkpoint placed on Ocean Drive – the only road that leads into the private community of about 300 residences tucked between Henlopen Acres and Cape Henlopen.
"Maybe they should just shut it off, have an access point where just residents or guests of residents come," he said. "That's probably the best thing."
Horning might get his wish, Rehoboth Beach Police Chief Keith Banks indicated at a town committee meeting in December.
While North Shores is outside of Rehoboth Beach, the road that leads into the community runs from the resort town. Because of that, the Police Department is in communication with the Secret Service and is alerted when Biden or a member of his family is coming to town, as well as whether they'll be arriving by car or helicopter.
Sometimes they get a week's notice, sometimes it's less than 24 hours, Banks said.
Already, there are Secret Service checkpoints on Biden's road when he is in town. There are more measures to come, according to Banks.
"You will see some security measures ... on Surf Avenue and things as far as checkpoints, just like it is up at his home in New Castle [County]," Banks said. "They'll have more than one checkpoint, I presume."
Prout, the security director, said it was tough to say how many of these barriers or patterns will become permanent.
"That should be starting to become apparent in the coming months, as far as what's going to be permanent what's not, as Secret Service continues to work with state and local law enforcement," Prout aid.
Speculation of what congestion might be by having a president in the area sent some to complain on social media when an article was published last week saying a parking lot in Gordons Pond would be used for the president's helicopter, Marine One.
"Well they just announced on News they will shut down Gordon Ponds parking lot for Biden to use as a helicopter pad when he is in town," read a Facebook post by Laura Oertly. "Really? We already have little parking with tourists, and they shut this park down when it reaches over capacity. I for one am disappointed in this decision. Maybe if it was his main house, but it's a vacation home, so the people who live here full time must suffer. Why can't he use the Georgetown Airport or Hudson Field Airport or is he so entitled he has to land right on the beach lot?"
Nikki Lavoie, a Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control spokeswoman, told Delaware Online/The News Journal that while Biden would have permission to use the parking lot, the state had not received a request.
Other North Shore residents were less concerned about the increase in security and all that it might bring. Steven Hollman owns a house down the street from Biden and said he feels downright honored.
"Certainly, there's more security in the neighborhood," he said. "I consider it a minor inconvenience for the privilege of living in the same neighborhood as the Bidens."
John Cooley, who was walking at Gordons Pond on Tuesday, said he isn't worried about the impact the Bidens could have on Rehoboth Beach.
"Ever since the pandemic started, this place has been packed with people," said Cooley, who lives west of Rehoboth. "People have been moving back here. Real estate’s just gone crazy. I don't really think his coming down here is really gonna affect anything one way or another.”
Contact Esteban Parra at (302) 324-2299, firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @eparra3.