City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a measure that could help a marina and restaurant return to the bay near 10th Street.
In a 7-0 vote at its public meeting Oct. 22 at the Ocean City Free Public Library, City Council passed the first reading of an ordinance approving a redevelopment plan for the site.
The ordinance is just one step in a process that could lead to the reconstruction of a working marina and restaurant on the 900 block of Palen Avenue.
The ordinance "doesn't envision anything other than zoning requirements," City Solicitor Dorothy McCrosson told council members.
The ordinance creates a new Marine Village Harbor Redevelopment Zone in the immediate area of the development site tailored to allow the uses outlined in the plan: a marina with at least 18 boat slips; a marine fueling station; a building with a restaurant on the first floor, retail space on the second floor and a residence on the third; and 44 parking spaces in a surface lot.
The property is the site of the former Dan's Dockside Marina and Restaurant, which has been abandoned and decaying for several years. It is now bank-owned.
An LLC owned by the Gill family — neighbors of the property and owners of a successful fishing tackle supply business — is the contract purchaser. The Gills have expressed their desire to redevelop the property.
Mayor Jay Gillian has said his administration would consider providing financing for the project in a public-private partnership "that guarantees repayment of any city financing within a reasonable time frame." Any such potential agreement would have to be approved by City Council at a future date.
"It's a step in the right direction," Councilman Michael DeVlieger said of the redevelopment ordinance. "it's an eyesore that needs to be improved."
"This particular ordinance does not include financial obligations by the city," Councilman Scott Ping said. "That will come before us in another ordinance."
Several members of the public spoke in favor of the project.
A public hearing and second reading is scheduled for the Nov. 21 City Council meeting.