OCEAN CITY – The modern design of a multiple-use project coming to the area of 25th Streett concerned the Planning and Zoning Commission, but its altered site plan was approved once it was explained it is the developer’s preference to keep the project unique.
The proposed site plan is of a hotel consisting of 92 rooms and 16 suites, along with a previously approved multi-family structure with 12, three-bedroom units that the developer requested to change to eight, three-bedroom townhomes instead.
“The Sept. 4, 2013 site plan approval had an 18-month life span and the applicant has determined they would like to convert from 12 multi-family condominium type units, which would be multi-level, to eight townhouse design where the units will be from the ground up,” Zoning Administrator Blaine Smith said.
Commission member Palmer Gillis expressed a lack of taste in the design of the townhouse units.
“What style of architecture is this? I am not sure if we are allowed to comment on taste but this is not really a homely looking building. It is really sad that we are going to allow this into that neighborhood,” he said.
Commission member Lauren Taylor agreed, stating the style reminded her of the old stack shack style, and pointed out cascading balconies cause problems.
Architect RobertHeron of Atlantic Planning, Development & Design, Inc. explained since the project last came before the commission the proposed hotel has become a Fairfield by Marriott and the townhouse unit will match the aesthetics of the hotel.
“I understand your comments … this is a more modern approach for Ocean City. As I said at the last Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, our client was upset when we produced what we normally do for Ocean City. He wanted something more in keeping with a modern approach and in keeping with the aesthetic of the hotel. In our opinion, we believe the uniqueness of the design of the townhomes and hotel is a major selling point for this project,” Heron said.
The commission voted unanimously to approve the amendment to the site plan approval.
In August 2013, during the initial site plan approval, the commission had concerns over traffic circulation but voted unanimously to grant preliminary site plan of the project approval and to have Atlantic Planning, Development & Design return with an altered site plan enhancing traffic circulation and relocation of parking.
A couple weeks later, the commission hesitantly approved an altered site plan for the mixed-use project stipulating if traffic issues occur it is the developer’s priority to resolve the issue.
The project will sit on four acres of land surrounding a water channel and is separated into two sites. Site A is on the easterly portion closest to Coastal Highway. At first, the site included two adjoining 4,600-square-foot restaurants on the northern portion next to 26th Street and a hotel consisting of 92 rooms and 16 suites on the southern portion next to 25th Street. Site B was the condominium building and is now the townhouse units.
During the first altered site plan review, Smith explained the revisions included a downsizing of the two restaurant spaces to 4,500 square feet, each totaling 9,000 square feet due to traffic pattern changes and relocations of parking to be in compliance with town code.
A pedestrian walkway running east/west between the restaurant and hotel has been changed to a traffic thru way creating circular traffic flow from the back to the front of the property.
The revisions addressed the commission’s concerns over exit/entrance points on the property by adding an additional two-way curb cut on 25th Street creating a straight thru way to 26th Street behind the hotel and the restaurant.
The Misty Harbor Motel once stood at the location but was demolished years ago. In the meantime, several projects have come before the commission to take its place but nothing has actually carried through. In the interim, the land has been used for special event parking.