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From an Old Wawa to Homes on the Beach, Master Plan Redefining O.C.

The Planning Board is seeking public input on proposed changes to its Master Plan.

Ocean City's Master Plan update continues to take shape as it moves toward final approval in October.

The document guides zoning and land-use decisions, and in some way affects most aspects of residential and commercial life in Ocean City.

Planner Randy Scheule presented to City Council on Thursday an addendum of recent changes made based on council feedback. The changes discussed at Thursday's meeting reflect the breadth of the Master Plan, and some include:

  • Rezoning the former Wawa property at Fourth Street and West Avenue to allow duplexes and a mixed-use property with commercial use on the first floor and residences above. By mixing residential and commercial uses, the plan attempts to attract a new business to a property that has failed to sell.
  • Rezoning a half-block of Haven Avenue (near 13th Street) to allow two single-family units to occupy a single lot between the street and the alley. The zone would require open space around the units and is seen as a new concept to provide an affordable option to bring families into Ocean City. The two single-family homes would occupy a space typically taken by a duplex. "Something like that is needed in that area of town," Second Ward Councilman Antwan McClellan said. "It's perfect."
  • Rezoning to allow multi-family apartments on the bay side of Simpson Avenue between 15th and 17th streets.
  • Providing conditional uses to protect Brown's and Oves, two Ocean City Boardwalk institutions that are nonconforming.
  • Redefining the Beach and Dune Zone that includes seven pre-existing homes on the beach.

Visit the city's Master Plan Re-Examination Report page to see the proposed changes and accompanying documents.

The Ocean City Planning Board will host a public meeting on the Master Plan update 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 3, at the Ocean City Free Public Library. The public is encouraged to provide feedback on the report. The report could potentially be approved at a final public hearing scheduled for Oct. 17.

The citizen-run Ocean City Community Association is holding its own presentation on the Master Plan 9:30 a.m. Saturday (Sept. 29) at the Ocean City Free Public Library.

BLDShamrock September 28, 2012 at 12:57 PM
What was the purpose of so many neighbors speaking at previous Council and Zoning Board meetings in regard to the former Wawa site? The area can't support businesses now and folks seem to think that bringing MORE business properties to the neighborhood would be BENEFICIAL ? Beneficial to who ? Perhaps those who are pushing for the business properties plan on opening a thriving business? Or is it more of the same....."not in our neighborhood" that we heard from the zoning board members living in the Gardens. Perhaps when people get their heads out of the sand and realize that this neighborhood is up and coming and not the "ghetto" that so many call it we will get a bit more respect in this City. Now that the Bellevue Hotel is coming down at the City's initial expence perhaps they would entertain the idea of putting the much debated affordable housing there??? Oh, that's right, more "not in this neighborhood" ? The City tore down the former rescue squad in the first Ward and put in a sprinkler system to water a plot of land several years ago yet the Second Ward continues to be the target for ill-fated business properties and more affordable housing in an area that is already saturated. There are many good people who call this area home and would like to continue to do so. Adding more affordable housing and empty business properties will NOT have a positive impact on the values of the properties already in this area. Let's do something to further improve the image of this area.
anonymous September 28, 2012 at 01:03 PM
A little late to be rezoning 13th & Haven...that is now 4 duplexes, 8 seperate residences ...on ONE lot ! 5 are already sold @ $500k each
John Smith September 28, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Two single family homes occupying one lot... so where are the cars going to park? maybe on the roof? I guess things are coming full circle... look at the old houses with the detached apartments in the rear over the garages... this isn't going to make things affordable for families to move into a postage stamp size residence... it will be appealing to a future summer resident who wants the place as a vacation home for use in the summer
Eric Sauder September 28, 2012 at 08:04 PM
It got really thick regarding the BDZ, where residents can rebuild their properties now (in the event of a disaster). They just can’t as easily expand their properties without the provisions of the proposed ordinance. Comments aimed at councilman Guinosso, suggesting that he is insensitive to the property owners in the BDZ because he opposes development in the beach and dune zone were over the top. Residential in the BDZ is a nonconforming use and should be treated as such. As councilman Guinosso pointed out there isn’t even a dune structure in front of some of those residences to hold back the ocean and normal high tide is already encroaching on those properties. And the comment that a bulkhead will be required to qualify for rebuilding is nonsensical when you think about it. What good will a bulkhead do if that bulkhead spans the width of only one property??? This is crazy stuff. The Mayor stated that we need to deal with "the facts". That would be a good way to proceed. When will that happen? As for the general public, they won’t know what those proposed changes will bring to Ocean City until it happens.
Eric Sauder September 28, 2012 at 08:09 PM
And did I hear this right? As a result of court action in a suit brought by a property owner in the BDZ, his property in the BDZ will be rezoned R1-60??? Think about what the beachfront will look like when one of those residences is rebuilt, or heaven forbid due to legal action a new residence is built in the BDZ at base flood + 2. How high is baseflood elevation along the beach?
Eric Sauder September 28, 2012 at 08:32 PM
And you can talk until you're blue in the face that this pattern of development is no more intense than the duplexes we've been building but a 4 foot front yard set back is a 4 foot front yard set back.

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