Monster Council Agenda: From Millions in Spending to Cry for South-End Sand
City Council's public meeting on Thursday, Feb. 14, will address several important issues.
City Council and members of the public will celebrate Valentine's Day at a 7 p.m. meeting at the Ocean City Free Public Library.
Council has a full agenda for Feb. 14 that includes the introduction of the 2013 municipal budget (which will be council's first detailed look at a plan for spending somewhere around $69 million in the next year) and a handful of ordinances related to zoning and spending for capital improvements.
At the same time, a group of property owners from the south end of Ocean City has promised to attend the meeting to push council to take action in finding a way to bring beach replenishment to the eroded shores at that end of town.
Supporting documentation for the full council agenda is attached to this story (click on the PDF icon above). Here are the items that might be of special interest:
South End Sand: The council agenda includes no item related to beach replenishment for the south end. But a group of homeowners will attend to rally support for doing whatever it takes to pump sand to bolster severely eroded beaches between 36th and 59th streets. The owners are hoping to expand a project for the north end of Ocean City that is scheduled to start this weekend.
Municipal Budget: City Council will get its first glimpse at a draft budget for the next fiscal year. Last year, Mayor Jay Gillian's administration delivered a $69 million overall budget that included virtually no spending increase — but because the city's ratable base shrank, the tax rate went up. On Thursday, council will learn what effect the Oct. 29 Superstorm Sandy might have on both spending and tax revenue.
West Avenue Rezoning: City Council will consider the first reading of an ordinance rezoning West Avenue (on the side toward the ocean) between North Street and Second Street. The change would be from "North End Neighborhood" to "R-1-30" in an effort to encourage redevelopment with new single-family homes.
$5.8 Million for Better Roads and Other Improvements: City Council will vote on the first reading of an ordinance that appropriates $5.8 million (with $5.5 million in borrowing) for capital improvements. The ordinance is part of an aggressive plan by Mayor Jay Gillian's administration to catch up on neglected infrastructure improvements. It includes $2.9 million to reconstruct various streets and drainage systems, $690,000 for storm repairs to public buildings, $550,000 for dredging bayside lagoons at Snug Harbor and Glen Cove, and $1 million to replace city vehicles.
Zoning Height for Homes Fronting the Boardwalk: City Council will vote on the first reading of an ordinance that would affect homes that front the Ocean City Boardwalk between 16th and 23rd streets. The ordinance would treat the single- and two-family homes in the same way as properties that front the beach — allowing them 33 feet in height above the "zoning flood elevation." The ordinance had been tabled at the last City Council meeting.
Expansion of Permitted Uses in the Drive-In Business Zone: City Council will vote on the second reading of an ordinance intended to expand permitted uses in the Drive-In Business (DB) Zone centered on West Avenue on either side of Ninth Street. The measure keeps all existing businesses as conforming uses (see attached PDF for supporting documentation and complete text of ordinance). The revisions include the addition of some lots between Pleasure and Palen avenues on Ninth Street to the DB Zone.
$5.3 Million for Dunes and Sandy Repairs: City Council will vote on the second reading of an ordinance that appropriates $5.3 million (with $5 million in borrowing) for capital improvements. The work includes $2,675,000 to replace dunes, fencing and plantings across the length of the island's oceanfront — including trucking sand in to bolster dunes at the south end. The work also includes $2,050,000 to repair public buildings in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.
Ninth Street Parking Lot Restaurant: City Council will vote to approve a five-year lease for the restaurant adjacent to the municipal parking on the beach block of Ninth Street. The high bidder was North End Partnership of Linwood (Angelo DiBartolo partner), but the Partership will assign its bid to Thomas Spadafora, so Spadafora's Restaurant would remain.
Public Defender: City Council will vote to renew its contract with attorney Douglas K. Walker to serve as public defender in the city's Municipal Court.