New Bayside Marina Could Open by May 2013
The Planning Board recommends a plan for a marina at Second Street and Bay Avenue.
The Ocean City Planning Board voted unanimously Wednesday to recommend a plan that could lead to a new marina on Bay Avenue near Second Street.
The board heard a presentation by Ocean City Marina, LLC, on a plan to lease public property to operate the marina.
The city purchased the marina site in 2009 for $3 million with the help of $738,000 in state Green Acres preservation grants. The city then sold the property to Cape May County for $2,261,225 — in essence paying off the balance of the purchase price for the property.
The sale preserved one of the few undeveloped and publicly accessible properties on the bay side of Ocean City. The waterfront property includes a parking lot, a small grassy area and existing docks and boat slips.
The county made the purchase as part of its open space program, and the city leases the land from the county for $1 per year and operates a marina there.
In introducing the presentation to the Planning Board, City Solicitor Dorothy McCrosson said the property has great potential as a public recreation facility but is underutilized.
The city administration advertised twice for proposals from outside contractors with experience in operating marinas.
The single proposal came from Ocean City Marina, LLC.
Sean Scarborough said the company would make improvements to the site and lease it from the city in exchange for rights to operate a marina there.
Scarborough said the company would improve two fixed piers with 27 boat slips working off the piers. Each slip would have a mechanical lift — a necessity at a site exposed to the tides, currents and the open water of nearby Great Egg Harbor Inlet.
The piers would include floating T-docks for loading passengers and for fish-cleaning stations.
Public facilities on the water would include a fishing pier and ramps for the disabled. Ocean City Marina would maintain the public open space off Bay Avenue, adding a "modest building" for restrooms.
Scarborough said the company would hope to complete the permitting process by January 2013 and open the marina by Memorial Day 2013.
He said the company had considered operating a fueling station there but determined it would be too costly — though the site plan could accommodate one in the future.
The Planning Board's vote was just a preliminary approval of the concept. The plan will go before City Council and likely return to the Planning Board for a final consistency review.