Council To Weigh Resident’s Request To Purchase Land

OCEAN CITY – A discussion over the purchase of city property on Robin Drive came to the table at this week’s City Council meeting, spurring the need for a work session to delve further into the issues of the land and the bulkhead that borders it.

Wayne Hartman came before the council at Monday night’s meeting to request to purchase the municipal property adjacent to 333 Robin Drive. Hartman purchased the apartments across the street a few years ago and renovated the run-down building. He hopes to buy the city land to use it as additional parking for the apartments or to build and provide boat slips for the residents of his building. He also addressed the bulkhead that lies on the potential property.

“The bulkhead is in a serious state of disrepair,” he said, offering to pay for the replacement and restoration of the current bulkhead. Councilman Jim Hall, a nearby resident, agreed that the bulkhead is in need of attention.

Councilman Jay Hancock showed support to the proposal and the potential that it holds.

“I looked at the property that you redeveloped and you certainly did a nice job,” he said. “In reference to the tax rules, it ultimately would be a benefit to the city as opposed to non-revenue producing land which we have to keep up. Revenue producing property that someone else has to keep up could be an asset.”

Councilwoman Nancy Howard suggested that a public hearing be held due to the fact that it is city land.

Council President Joe Mitrecic suggested the city have another appraisal of the property. He said he was not against what Hartman was trying to do, but that “we need to get a true idea of what the property will be worth with the boat slip.” He explained to Hartman that, “you’re taking a non-waterfront unit and making it a waterfront unit,” which he explained will have an affect on the value of both properties.

Councilwoman Mary Knight asked City Engineer Terry McGean, “If we did not sell this property, what would the city do with this property?”

McGean explained that the land is currently in need of bulkhead repair that requires a good amount of money to fix. He said that the land is basically being used currently as an unofficial dog park.

Knight also asked whether it would be better off, as Hancock mentioned, as a non-revenue producing land or as a revenue producing property. McGean said, “my feeling on these things has always been if there is not some sort of real use or public benefit with this bulkhead than it’s better off,” mentioning that without use or benefit it should be a revenue producing property.