Changes To Resort Height Code Sought

OCEAN CITY – The Planning and Zoning Commission is recommending the Mayor and City Council pass an emergency ordinance to amend the town’s code on building height.
On Tuesday evening, the Planning and Zoning Commission held a public hearing to consider amending Ocean City’s Zoning Code that currently defines building height as the vertical distance from grade to the highest point where the exterior walls meet the roof. The area above the maximum building height (attic) shall not be used for living purposes, which includes working, sleeping, eating, cooking or recreation or a combination thereof.
The amendment would change the definition to the vertical distance from base flood elevation or two feet above grade, whichever is greater, to the highest point where exterior walls meet the roof. The area above the maximum building height (attic) shall not be used for living purposes, which includes working, sleeping, cooking or recreation, or a combination thereof unless otherwise specified.
According to Ocean City’s Zoning Code, “grade” is defined as, “grade elevation shall be measured at the crown of the improved street upon which a building fronts, measured at the point perpendicular to the midpoint of the lot line.”
The code also states, “within the residential district maximum building height shall be no more than 50 feet and shall be no more than five stories, except as otherwise provided under special height and yard regulations per section 110-901 for buildings taller than five stories.”
Zoning Director Blaine Smith explained if each floor of a building is nine feet tall it would leave only five feet between the grade and the first floor.
“Sometimes because of base flood elevation they have to raise the building up, and they lose some of their floor to ceiling height … so if we give them to the base flood elevation or two feet above grade they can get it up and have better height under the building,” Smith said. “Many times it is the parking level that suffers.”
Smith used the new La Quinta Inn & Suites on 32nd Street as an example of one of the current projects that will benefit from the code change.
“They barely had the right height for clearance, and if this is enacted they can raise it up and have a legitimate height under that building,” Smith said.
The public hearing was closed with no public comments made. The commission quickly recognized the benefit to the code change as a list of new construction projects in Ocean City continues to grow. The amendment would apply to any projects currently under construction and in the future.
The commission voted unanimously to send a favorable recommendation to the council to amend the code and to pass the amendment as an emergency ordinance.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

HTML tags are not allowed.