OCEAN CITY – The Planning and Zoning Commission considered multiple site plan approvals this week, including a temporary enclosure of Galaxy 66 Skye Bar & Grille, an addition to De Lazy Lizard and a rooftop bar and dining at the Marina Deck as well as a public hearing to approve non-motorized water sports at 45th Street Village.
Several site plan approvals were all considered within Ocean City’s code regarding the amount of dining space and required parking. The code states, “Restaurants, fast food restaurant, cocktail lounge, tavern or nightclub or other establishments for the consumption of food or beverages on or off the premises: One space per 100 square feet of enclosed gross floor area, minimum of five spaces.”
A parking exemption applies only if a roofed over area remains at least 51 percent open on all sides with no enclosure of any kind, and a railing system no higher than 42 inches with open pickets is not to be considered an enclosure. Establishments with non-conforming parking status may only exempt parking for outdoor dining areas equal to the number of parking spaces provided on-site at the rate of one space per 100 square feet of outdoor dining area.
Galaxy 66 Skye Bar & Grille
The site plan proposed a little over 3,000 square feet of a retractable roof and wall enclosure system for the rooftop bar.
Zoning Administrator Blaine Smith recalled the history Galaxy 66 has with the commission in coming forward to request the addition of the skye bar and the commission’s ongoing concerns over the amount of parking the establishment provides.
Galaxy 66 was in nonconformity with the parking code and has gone before the Board of Zoning Appeals for parking waivers.
“There is only so much parking on site and it restricted the amount of enclosed dining they could have. You all had actually restricted how much outdoor dining they could have based on the percentage of parking that was associated with the restaurant,” Smith said.
Most recently Galaxy 66 has come into agreement with the Mayor and City Council to use the Public Safety Building’s parking lot next door for additional parking.
“They have gone to the Board of Zoning Appeals where a public hearing was held for special exception based on the temporary arrangement. The essence of that approval was that as long as they have the parking they can have the temporary enclosure,” Smith explained.
Harry How of MAD Engineering explained the temporary enclosure consists of retractable glass panels that stack when open. The company has installed the system in multiple locations throughout the country. The panels are made of double glass and will stand up to Ocean City’s wind load as well as provide a noise buffer.
“It is a good solution,” Commission member Peck Miller said.
The commission voted 4-0 to approve the site plan with Chair Pam Buckley, Miller, John Staley and Lauren Taylor present and Joel Brous, Chris Shanahan and Thomas Singman absent.
De Lazy Lizard
The site plan proposed an open, unenclosed, covered pavilion for dining space to be added to the property and the expansion of off-site parking available to the establishment’s customers.
The new pavilion is located on the north-west side of the site near the water sport operation and kid play area. Its design is similar to the other pavilions.
Smith recalled De Lazy Lizard has also come before the commission on multiple occasions as the establishment continues to grow. Originally there were two pavilions on site, and as the facility has expanded, such as the restrooms, De Lazy Lizard outgrew the required amount of parking they provided.
Over time De Lazy Lizard has acquired two off-site parking lots, one owned and one leased, as well on-site parking. The combination of parking spaces now meets the required amount of parking for both the restaurant, water sports operation and now the additional dining area.
“Because of the marketplace, they are acquiring parking in addition to what they are required by code because they have become such a successful operation,” Smith said.
The commission voted 4-0 to approve the additional pavilion for dining and the expansion of the off-site parking.
The site plan proposed about 4,000 square feet of a rooftop bar and dining addition to the restaurant. The dining addition will be unenclosed offering an extra 200 seats.
“They have reduced their non-conformity with parking over the years with acquiring properties [off-site] for parking, some of which accommodate the marina activity not just the restaurant,” Smith said.
The original establishment is grandfathered into the parking code. Currently, Marina Deck has 28 parking spaces deeded to the restaurant, which has only 2,800 square feet of the restaurant code compliant with parking. This made the commission question the total square footage of the restaurant, including the new space on the second floor.
Information regarding the amount of square footage of indoor and outdoor dining space on the first and second floor as well as the amount of off-site parking spaces dedicated to the property was neither unknown nor verified by the property owner at the time of the site plan review.
With some quick calculations on the spot, it was estimated between the first and second floor the entire business will make up around 15,000 square feet.
“You are talking about a 15,000-square-foot restaurant that you will be running with 28 parking spaces. There is just no way that could function in that neighborhood. It would wreak havoc on all the other businesses,” Buckley said.
The commission voted to table the site plan approval until the applicant returned with the correct calculations of square footage and number of parking spaces available.
“They want us to go back and have them show us where the additional parking is coming from…and have them dedicated to the use of that restaurant, and they want that all documented and on the plan,” Smith said.
45th Street Watersports
A public hearing was held considering a conditional use request for a non-motorized watersport operation on the south side of 45th Street Village. The operation will have a maximum 0f 20 devices; stand-up paddle boards, kayaks and pedal boats. The applicant, Mike Hricik, also owns and operates 48th Street Watersports.
Currently on the south side of 45th Street Village there is a beach that abuts the building and meets the bay. The non-motorized watersports operation will function out of that area.
Miller pointed out the area has been under construction while the village has been redeveloped, as well as repairs are being done from Super Storm Sandy, and asserted the sight is to be cleared of debris prior to opening.
“Absolutely, once the construction phase is done we will maintain the area very well,” Hrickic said.
Hrickic pointed out the beach is connected to a private wetland that provides the perfect opportunity for watersport patrons to participate in eco tours.
“What we want to do is maintain that habitat. There is so much marine life in Ocean City and that is what we want to show people,” he said.
The commission was in consensus the location was perfect for a non-motorized watersport operation, especially with how shallow the water is in the area.
There was no public testimony given during the hearing.
Taylor made a motion to forward a favorable recommendation to the Mayor and City Council to approve the conditional use for a period of five years. The commission voted 4-0 to approve.