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City Council to Vote on Marina Proposal on Thursday

A public information session was held Monday at the Bayside Center.

City Council will vote Thursday on a resolution to award a contract for a private company to operate a marina on public property at Second Street and Bay Avenue.

The vote will come just three days after an information session was held to answers questions and solicit feedback from neighbors and the public.

City Council's vote is scheduled during a 7 p.m. at on June 28. It is listed as part of the "consent agenda" for routine items that are considered in a batch, but it likely will be pulled for a separate discussion and vote.

The public information session was held Monday evening at the , and included Ocean City Community Services Director Jim Mallon and Ocean City Marina LLC principal Sean Scarborough answering questions about the proposal.

In recent  (June 6) and (June 14), the city administration said the proposal is part of a plan to give the public more ways to use an underutilized public space overlooking the bay in Ocean City.

The city twice solicited bids for outside contractors willing to pay for capital improvements in exchange for the right to operate a marina. Ocean City Marina, LLC, was the only bidder each time.

Monday's information session outlined what the city would receive at no cost:

  • A floating pier with a 60-foot ramp for disabled access.
  • The pier would have a launch area for kayaks and paddleboards.
  • The end of the pier would have an 8-by-38-foot floater for use as a public fishing pier day and night.
  • The pier would include slips with disabled access and slips for personal watercraft.
  • A restroom would be constructed on the upland portion of the property.

The private benefits would be:

  • Two fixed piers (gated) that would accommodate 27 boat slips each equipped with a mechanical lift.

What Monday's session did not include was a copy of any proposed lease or contract between the City of Ocean City and Ocean City Marina, LLC.

Scarborough said the marina would rent slips for $4,200 to $6,300 per year. He said the lease would be structured so that revenue would go first to pay for the operation of the marina, then to pay for any of the city's annual costs associated with the property until the city breaks even. Any revenue beyond that would go to Ocean City Marina, LLC, according to Scarborough.

Scarborough would pay for all improvements to the property, including the public facilities.

Scarborough estimated the marina could bring in $70,000 in the first year and as much as $135,000 a few years later. 

Scarborough and Mallon said a final lease does not exist. It remained unclear on Monday night what terms are in the "contract" City Council will consider on Thursday. Councilman Keith Hartzell said a copy was in the packet that council members had received earlier on Monday but that he had not had a chance to review it.

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 county made the purchase as part of its open space program, and the city leases the land from the county for $1 per year. The deal with Ocean City Marina, LLC, would in essence be a sublease.

Because Ocean City Marina, LLC would own no property, there would be no property taxes involved.

George June 26, 2012 at 11:45 AM
Did anyone who attended the meeting find out if they are going to dredge the area? there is not much water in there. I did see a whole lot of people there on Sunday fishing which is a good thing, however, If I was a boat owner and slip renter, I think I would want some security. Also was there any provisions for transient slips?
Eric Sauder June 26, 2012 at 02:55 PM
George that question came up at a prior meeting and it was stated by Scarborough that there are no plans to dredge. As I recall it was stated that there is 3 feet of water at low tide which is adequate. As i understand it all of the slips will be rented out on an annual basis. According to councilman Hartzell, the slips currently rent (under City management) for $1700 / year. There's a great deal of confusion. Read the coverage in the Gazette. No one seems to understand exactly what the terms of the agreement are, yet from comments made at the meeting, it seems they're prepared to vote for the proposal Thursday night.
Eric Sauder June 26, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Does anyone really KNOW what the terms of this agreement are? There seems to be a great deal of confusion. You get different answers from different people. Why doesn't that seem to matter to anyone? Now you're ready to VOTE on this? We're rushing into this. Confusion reigns supreame. What information you can get is contradictory, depending on who you get it from. Time to slow down here. A vote is scheduled for Thursday. Do you really KNOW (council members) what you're voting on? Has anyone actually seen the lease agreement? What Scarborough is saying and what council members are saying is not the same thing. It seems everyone has their own understanding of how the deal is structured, but no two of them are the same. This proposal went before the Planning Board and then was made to City Council and neither were advertised to the public. Now immediately on the heels of a rushed public "information session" a vote will be taken. There will be NO opportunity for public commnet unless the item is pulled from the consent agenda. Does a lease exist or doesn't it exist? You can't even get a definitive answer to that question! What's going on here?
Eric Sauder June 26, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Scarborough also stated that he has no plans to put a fueling station there because of the costs of permitting, though there was a fueling station on the proposed site plan.
Eric Sauder June 26, 2012 at 04:50 PM
PS. Read the coverage on shorenewstoday. You have two seasoned reporters trying to figure out the terms of the deal and what they're reporting doesn't agree.
Mary Barrus June 26, 2012 at 07:08 PM
something fishy.....
Duffer June 26, 2012 at 11:08 PM
Stinks to the high heavens. Doesn't anyone out there see how un-ethical it is to lease this property back to the people they bought it from for millions of dollars???
Barbara Betson June 27, 2012 at 02:24 AM
The bottom line is that Ocean City is not in the Marina Business. They do not and will not want to repair and maintain the Marina. If Ocean City Marina,LLC wants to put over 1 million dollars into the repair of this dilapidated Marina, More power to him. If the City does not go into some type of public/private partnership all our taxes would go up because the maintainance and liability will continue to fall on the City of OC. The docks the way they are right now are not as safe as they could be and if Mr. Scarborough wants to step forward it's a positive for all. We the People of OC should give this a chance. 2nd and Bay is a fabulous asset to our neighborhood and to the community. Instead of people having tunnel vision we should be open minded.
Eric Sauder June 27, 2012 at 03:06 AM
It is not at all clear what the terms of this agreement are or how it will benefit anyone other than Scarborough. It has been stated that it will be "revenue neutral" for the City. Scarborough obvioulsy believes he can turn a profit off that land. What revenue it did generate will be lost to the City and to the taxpayer. And the taxpayer will pay a fee to Scarborough to use public facilities. I could be open minded about it if I had ANY hard information to go on. There's lots of it out there but most of it is contradictory. What I'd like to know is what, exactly, are the terms of this agreement? How it will benefit the taxpayer? Is it a fair agreement for both Scarborough and the City? Fair to the public? I think the public has a right to that information. It is public property.
Florence Moyer June 27, 2012 at 10:42 AM
I'm not hearing negativity about the project per se - kind of rare for this site, in my experience - but for the city's absolute lack of transparency around the project - sadly typical, again, in my experience. I've been away for a week, all the way in Cape Cod, and the whole thing smells bad even from here.
Florence Moyer June 27, 2012 at 10:44 AM
Duffer, I have disagreed with nearly post of yours that I ever read. This is not one of them. You are spot on.
Barbara Betson June 27, 2012 at 10:57 AM
If anyone was that interested they would have gone to the Bayside center on Monday evening and talked with Both Mr. Scarborough and Reps form the City. Mr. Scarborough has no responsibilty to the upland at the Marina other than putting a more appealing restroom facility and office structure. The City will maintain the lawn, park benches and the general maintainance. Mr.Scarborough takes the responsiblity from the bulk head out into the bay with whatever docks and ramps etc. that are refurbished. As for lost Tax revenue. It would cost a substancial amount , well over a million dollars to fix those docks. The City does not want that bill. And if they did it would come from out Taxes. With this Lease agreement which is Revenue Neutral. Mr. Scarborough would only see get revenue from the rental of his boat slips. If Mr. Scarborough eventually realizes a return from his investment, then more power to him, that is the American Way. Remember he is a Business Man. I feel to many people in this Town take to much personally. Interestingly, Mr. Scarborough was the only one that ut a bid in when the City put it out that they were looking for a partner in this venture. I quess that all these Nay-Sayers did not feel the need to come forward and put in a Bid to refurb and Maintain the Docks on 2nd. and Bay. Public/Private partnerships are the wave of the future. City Governments are realizing they do not have to always take the full burden. In this case the dock repair.
Barbara Betson June 27, 2012 at 11:11 AM
By the Way the only Fee the Tax payer will have to pay to Mr.Scarborough is if you are a boat owner and choose to rent a boat slip for teh season. What are we talking about People. We need these Docks maintained and a nicer bathroom facility would only enhance the experiance for those that come and fish and sit on the benches there. Instead of the designer Porta-Potty that I see from my porch across the street. Right now as I see it it probably costs the City more Money than they brought in by renting to the 12 or so boats, just in liability insurance and salaries to have someone sit and watch the Docks and the Parking lot all day long 7 days a week. We are not talking about anyone making a furtune for heavens sake over this project.Tthe only thing that Smells is the fact that those docks are in such disrepair and something needs to be done.
Barbara Betson June 27, 2012 at 11:27 AM
And to Clarify Duffer's Remark. The city bought the property from Estate of Mr. Rotelli Mr. Rotelli and Mr. Scarborough's Business Dealing are none of your business. That land on 2nd and by was originally planned to be developed and it do not come to pass. Sean Scarborough is giving back to his community by going in on a public/private partnership. More power to him. If that is the only way to get our Docks fixed there should be no opposition. I'll be at Coucil on Thusday evening showing my support as a Taxpayer in OC it is a Win, Win
Eric Sauder June 27, 2012 at 12:39 PM
Barb I was at the meeting and talked to numerous people there which is why I can say that I got conflicting information from just about everyone I talked to. (I was the one that raised the concern over the City's ability to handle a marina fire). I remember you from there. Having talked to my council representative he just received a copy of the lease LAST NIGHT (it's 12 pages of legalese). Up until a lease is executed nothing is definite and is subject to change. As a citizen I would like to know what the terms of the lease are (though you may think its none of my business). There are a lot of other issues being raised. Check out the coverage in shorenewstoday. I'm sure Doug will be back with more on this site. I'm not opposed to a partnership IF it failry benefits all the parties involved (including the taxpayer).
Eric Sauder June 27, 2012 at 12:46 PM
Have you seem a copy of the agreement?
Silver Mariposa June 27, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Dear Council.....PLEASE look before you leap - or you may again land in a pile of s***. Important matters should be thoroughly explored and all options evaluated before any action is taken.
Duffer June 27, 2012 at 07:31 PM
Here is a quote for you Barbara "Of particular concern to Kemenosh, and to 4thWard Councilman-elect Peter Guinosso, is the fact that Scarborough owned the property for three years before selling it for $3 million to Ocean City in June 2009. The city used approximately $750,000 in Green Acres and Open Space funds to make the purchase. The county subsequently purchased the lot from the city for roughly $2.25 million." The whole thing stinks to the high heavens.
Barbara Betson June 28, 2012 at 01:38 AM
Duffer get your facts straight it was public knowledge if you went to any council meetings back around 2007-2008 when he tried to propose buliding Condo's on the upland at 2nd and Bay. He had an Agreement with the Rotelli Estate on the land If he could develop it he would purchase the land. If he could not it went back to Rotellli. Hense you do not see Condo's on the Bay on 2nd Street. The City of OC did not buy the property from Scarborough it bought it from the Estate of Mr. Rotelli. It costs money to go before Coucil with architecture plans and Capra permits and lawyer representation etc. Whatever compensation that Scarborough got out of the Land sell which I know for a fact was not 3 million is a Deal that Rotelli Jr. and Scarborough had and that is between them. Maybe Mr Kemenosh who is retiring after tomorrow nights vote should go back in his records and get the facts straight. But my final thought is, WE NEED THE DOCKS REPAIRED. SOMEBODY NEEDS TO STEP UP TO THE PLATE AND JUST DO IT. NOW TO EVERYONE HAVE A GOOD NIGHT.
OCLocal June 28, 2012 at 11:17 AM
Barbara, According to the County Clerk Book of Deeds, Mr. Scarborough (signing as managing member of S.P. Fitco, LLC) DID sell the property to the City of Ocean City for $3 Million. He purchased the property on the same day from R & R Co. (John F. Rotelli as Partner signing) for $2.5 Million. Sorry.
Susan June 28, 2012 at 11:55 AM
oh my!

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