Ocean City News In Brief

OCEAN CITY — In the
brief this week, the City Council president issued an apology to Boardwalk
merchants, the council officially passed a resolution that will allow some
prime projects to get funded and the first new business to go into a 45th
Street shopping plaza was announced.

Mitrecic Apologizes For Council Oversight

Council President Joe
Mitrecic made a public apology to Boardwalk merchants this week who say they
were robbed of customers and business by giveaways provided by a special event
on the Boardwalk last weekend.

Mitrecic said that the
Chase Bank Fun in the Sun promotion, which was approved on June 7, ended up
being nothing close to what the council originally believed that it was going
to be.

“Their application
stated that they wanted to do family-type games like tic-tac-toe, limbo and pin
the tail on the donkey, and they had mentioned that they were going to be
giving out prizes for the winners,” said Mitrecic. “What really happened,
unfortunately, was that they were giving away prizes to anyone who filled out a
credit card application.”

The big issue concerning
the prizes that Chase Bank was giving out to spectators and participants was
that they were giving out similar products to those sold on the Boardwalk, such
as umbrellas, beach chairs, boogie boards and coolers.

“I’d like to apologize
to the vendors, because there were a lot of angry merchants who believed that
this one-day event had a very big impact on their businesses,” said Mitrecic.
“I think in the future, we need to look at these special event applications a
little closer.”

Mayor Rick Meehan said
he believed a corporate entity like Chase should consider sponsoring a larger
town run event if they desire to do similar type promotions or giveaways in the
future.

“I just feel like they
should partner with the city and become a sponsor, rather than just paying the
small fee to hold a special event and basically take advantage of all the free
enterprise on the Boardwalk this time of year,” said Meehan.

Council Approves Selling

Of Bonds For Capital Projects

The council voted  6-1 (with Margaret Pillas in opposition) to
issue debt obligations up to $8 million for a handful of upcoming town projects
including a boat ramp on 64th Street, and numerous pumping stations
that are more than 40 years old.

The council had already
approved the debt obligation for $10 million for both the expansion to the
Roland E. Powell Convention Center and the newly acquired 64th
street property (that will be used for future alterations of the town’s
Wastewater facility in two separate resolutions.

City Finance
Administrator Martha Bennett Lucey asked the council for flexibility when
selling the bonds, as she will attempt to utilize the federal government’s
Build America Bonds, which would be a taxable bond, or a tax exempt bond, as is
commonly done.

“Doing it with both
options will enable us to get the best rate possible,” said Lucey.

45th Street Village Plans

Reluctantly Approved

After countless changes
and years of debate on how one of Ocean City’s largest shopping centers should
look after a planned redevelopment, the Planning and Zoning Commission
reluctantly approved a 9,600-square-foot retail space to be the first new
tenant in the ever-changing 45th Street shopping plaza.

Reportedly, the
property, which is owned by Sunsations proprietor Avi Sibony, will be going
through a major facelift in the near future, as the back buildings that
neighbor the bay are scheduled to be razed, and the front of the plaza, closest
to the highway, will see a new retail space erected, and reportedly will be
occupied by Coastal Edge Surf and Skate Shop, which is based in Virginia Beach.

Still, the Planning and
Zoning Commission was not thrilled about the plans, most notably, the entrance
and the exit out of the plaza.

“I just think it’s scary
to see a project of this size have such a limited traffic flow,” said Peck
Miller. “I feel like that is one of the worst entrances in Ocean City, and I’m
afraid that we just made it worse.”

Concerns stemmed from
the congestion created by motorists waiting to exit the complex at the light at
45th Street, and by a parking lot that sits closest to the outbound
lane of the complex, that the commissioners feel will be the first spots
targeted by the incoming traffic.

“Traffic is going to be
a mess,” said Commission Chair Pam Buckley. “I don’t know quite how to fix the
entrance, but I know I don’t like it.”

The commission also
hoped that Sibony and his architects would consider putting in more vegetation
and landscaping in the first phase of the complex, to avoid a “concrete jungle”
in mid town Ocean City.

“That’s a lot of
asphalt, and this is going to be a lot of building,” said Miller. “I think it
needs to have some parts of what we consider to be beautiful or even acceptable
in regards to landscaping.”

The State Highway
Administration will look into the entrance and exit strategies presented by
Sibony’s architect Keith Iott of Iott Architects in Salisbury.

“There’s definitely
going to be some bottlenecking anyway you look at it,” said commissioner Chris
Shanahan.

 

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