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Council Gets to Work Tuesday on Rezoning Ocean City

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Less than a week after the Planning Board approved an updated Master Plan, City Council will get to work on turning the recommendations into law.

At a public meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 23, in Council Chambers on the third floor of City Hall, City Council will consider the first reading of an ordinance that would make several zoning changes.

The changes were suggested in the Master Plan, a massive document that serves as a guideline for zoning and land-use decisions. The Planning Board approved a scheduled five-year update of the Master Plan on Oct. 17.

City Council's regularly scheduled Thursday meeting was moved up by two days because of the Halloween Parade scheduled for 7:15 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25.

Other rezoning recommendations will be considered at future meetings, but the zoning changes under consideration Tuesday are as follows:

Wawa property at Fourth Street and West Avenue: Rezone a half-block on the bay side of West Avenue between Third and Fourth Streets. At the corner of Fourth Street and West Avenue (on part of the vacant Wawa property), rezone an area with 40 feet of width on West Avenue and 100 feet of depth from Neighborhood Business to mixed commercial/residential use (commercial use on the first floor and residences above). Rezone the remainder of the half-block from Neighborhood Business to residential (R-2-30 or duplexes with 30-foot frontages). (The vacant property has been part of a long zoning debate.)

Peter Lumber Company property at 15th Street and Haven Avenue: Rezone from commercial (Drive-In Business) to residential (R-1-30 or single-family homes with 30-foot frontages). The Ocean City location of the lumber company has been vacant for more than a year.

New designations for multi-family zoning: The Master Plan provides Residential Multi-Family zoning in areas where “major scale” developments existed (in 1988) including the area adjacent to the central business district between Sixth and 14th streets. The Master Plan designates public multi-family housing in locations where the Ocean City Housing Authority maintains such housing north of Fifth Street. To be more consistent, the Master Plan re-examination recommends:

  • Rezoning parts of the 300 block of Haven Avenue from North End Neighborhood to Residential Multi-Family.
  • Rezoning the 1200 block of Wesley Avenue from Residential Multi-Family to R-2-30 (or duplexes with 30-foot frontages).
  • Rezoning the 1300 block of Wesley Avenue from Residential Multi-Family to R-2-30 (or duplexes with 30-foot frontages).
  • Rezoning parts of the beach block of Brighton Place from Residential Multi-Family to Corinthian 2-40/4000 (or duplexes with 40-foot frontages).
Duffer October 22, 2012 at 11:34 AM
The greedy realtors obviously got their way. Just what we need....more duplexes and 30 foot lots.
Silver Mariposa October 22, 2012 at 12:04 PM
Proceed with CAUTION! A year-round population requires year-round businesses, but I think the model of commercial/office on the first floor and duplex above has not been successful in other zones. Your zoning changes will affect the character of the City for the next 25-50 years.
vic October 22, 2012 at 02:37 PM
rezoning the old wawa property between 3rd and 4th st on west to commercial/residential for half a block and the other half block to just residential doesn't seem to make much sense. the entire block should have one zoning. splitting the zoning on a block has not been successful in the past, so why do we think that it will work now. at the 1st ward meeting the residents in the area wanted the entire block to be totally residential.
Frank Worrell October 22, 2012 at 02:58 PM
It seems to me the best planning is what the neighborhood and neighbors feel what is right for their area... Its their quality of life issue....someone who lives in the 4 th ward will not have the same feel for what fits in the 1 st ward as someone who lives where the changes are being made as well as the reverse 1st ward folks will not have the same feel for what is best in the 4th ..Some planning board mmbers have other agendas ....
Ellen October 22, 2012 at 03:09 PM
As I was leaving town last week for the season a thought crossed my mind of how boring and ticky tacky it all looked. 4-plex after 4-plex after 4-plex most of them looking exactly like the one next door. Where's the creativity? Where are the green areas? Hey I've got an idea! Let's mix it up with 6-plexes and throw an 8-plex or two into the mix.......geesch.
Eric Sauder October 22, 2012 at 03:19 PM
The objective is,and always was to make money off of the vacant Wawa lot. It amuses me how quick Council is to act on the recommendations in the re-exam that will give the builders what they want.
Eric Sauder October 22, 2012 at 03:33 PM
It is also true that the residents on that block want their block rezoned to make their properties conforming. Duplexes are not a permited use in the current zone. They bought housing that was built with use variances. That is the way zoning proceeeds in this town. You build housing that is non-confomring then you make it conforming by changing the zoning. And duplexes are built everywhere. Take a look around town. The evidence is right before your eyes.
Eric Sauder October 22, 2012 at 03:41 PM
The agenda of the development community will be pushed thru in Council just like it was pushed thru in the Planning Board.
Seriously October 22, 2012 at 03:48 PM
Yes... it makes much more sense to let the dilapidated WAWA sit and rot for 5 years without doing anything. That does make the town look much nicer.
Eric Sauder October 22, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Come on. No one had the slightest intention of doing anything other than building duplexes on that lot. That's what the builder DO here. What should have been done was to make an attempt to find a commercial use for that lot. It's a waiting game for the builder. Let it sit until the citizens demand they build duplexes there. Me personally I don't care. The 4th Street Wawa was the battleground. You have to draw a line somewhere. They got the Wawa and will be moving on. Congrats to everyone who wanted that block rezoned residential. But don't think for a minute its going to stop there. In another 10 years there will be nothing left in Ocean CIty but high density residential.
Eric Sauder October 22, 2012 at 04:10 PM
That is what I was trying to stop.
Eric Sauder October 22, 2012 at 05:01 PM
I think that's largely due to the small size of those commercial spaces that were built as a concession to building residential on top. They are useful for some applications but not for others. That's why it's so important to preserve larger commercial lots. What we know for sure is that there will never again be anything like a convenience store near that location on West. There will no longer be any place to put it. I'm glad I have a Wawa I can walk to for a cup of coffee or a newspaper. The two Wawa stores that remain do a pretty good business, even in the winter and I believe the north end would benefit from having a convenience store. It will be intereesting to see what happens with the Palermo site. They could put something similar there underneath residential, but will they?.
Sam October 22, 2012 at 10:21 PM
Just what we need!! More duplexes!!! Do we all REALLY want to encourage families to live here? The north end and the gardens needs a year round corner store or a small supermarket. We also need some vision for the future. Perhaps more open green space. Anything but duplexes!!!
Joan Farrell October 22, 2012 at 11:03 PM
The biggest problem with the WAWA site is that WAWA will only sell with a deed restriction that prohibits convenience stores, delis, sandwich shops, etc...anything that will compete with the 13th St WAWA. You can go to WAWA.com and find the deed restrictions. Regardless of how anyone thinks the lot could be used, the only convenience store that can ever go there is a WAWA.
Silver Mariposa October 22, 2012 at 11:08 PM
I do miss the north end Wawa and am sad for the loss of all the multi-lot parcels in the CIty that could permit development other than the empty storefront over duplex. Again... where will this move support any year-round residents? I can foresee the two remaining Wawas leaving town when the new SuperWawa opens in Somers Point and the 34th Gateway turns to duplexes and all stores leave so that we can drive to Marmora. This is not planning for the future.
vic October 22, 2012 at 11:15 PM
we have quite a few corner stores in the north end. palermo's tried to make it as a local grocer and they concluded it wasn't economically feasible. since we already have superfresh, how can a small grocer compete? i would take duplexes in a heartbear on west ave over all the problems and crime that the wawa produced. thank goodness it closed. it saved the neighborhood.
zoetwater October 23, 2012 at 12:51 AM
Why aren't single family units in the discussion for the WAWA parcel. Single family homes with some yard ( 40 foot lots) is the only way to bring in families or year round residents. It s not the job of the residents of OC to rezone areas so the numbers work for the developers.
Sam October 23, 2012 at 01:54 AM
What are we doing to attract taxpaying families to Ocean City?
Eric Sauder October 23, 2012 at 02:27 AM
Then let it sit until Wawa removes the deed restrictions. Wawa is now determining land use in Ocean CIty?
Eric Sauder October 23, 2012 at 02:29 AM
Wawa produced crime?
vic October 23, 2012 at 04:15 AM
eric, i'm shocked. weren't you aware of all the problems that were occurring at the wawa. why do you think they closed? where did the last shooting in ocean city occur? where were the drug dealings going down? the goons that hung out at the wawa were terrorizing the neighborhood
Duffer October 23, 2012 at 10:24 AM
Go look at Avalon and Stone Harbor and you will see what Ocean City would have looked like with a little less greed in the zoning laws.
cscs October 24, 2012 at 01:39 AM
More stores, more duplexes. Is that really what Ocean city needs? I agree with Duffer. Next we'll be zoning for roof top parking because where else are we going to park the cars. You can't even go to the boardwalk or the Music Pier because you can't find a parking space. And you don't need stores to attract year round residents. Yes, I'm just one of those summer resident who lives in a year round town with only 3 stores and a farm stand. But guess what, when I have friends and family over, there's room for them to park.
Eric Sauder October 24, 2012 at 02:18 AM
My point is Vic that Wawa did not produce crime. It was victimized by it. That element will exist regardless of whether or not there is a convenience store there.
Eric Sauder October 24, 2012 at 02:25 AM
Besides which, as I pointed out earlier, it was the money to be made from developing that site that was the motivating factor in all of this, supported by property owners that are non-conforming. I respect your intelligence Vic. For every property that gets re-developed in Ocean City there's an plethora of excuses for doing it. The real reason isn't the one you're going to hear. If it's such a bad neighborhood should we be building residences there?

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