Requests For Changes In OC Bayside Regs
(The following was sent this week to the Mayor and City Council and Planning Commission members. A copy was also forwarded to this publication.)
The Hall’s family thanks you for trying to bring flexibility to large bayside parcels. We feel it is not only the best interest of us, but also the best interest for the town as a whole. The best possible use of a property is to everyone’s benefit.
We would like to relay to you that the Special Bayside Development Regulations having a lot of attractive elements fails to allow our property to take advantage of its use. There are several areas of conflict for us.
Conflict one: We support larger setbacks. Under this version section (f) setbacks number (2) Front yard setbacks shall be 1.5 feet for each one foot over 50 feet.
Our problem is our property fronts on three streets and an ally. Ocean City Zoning Administrator Blaine Smith tells us the regulations as written would apply to the three road fronts. This seems excessive to have 55-foot set backs on three sides of a project.
Conflict two: Under section (B) Hall’s Restaurant as it exists today would have to be demolished to use this regulation. We feel that would be a loss to Ocean City. Our current building is attractive and functioning as a productive restaurant. Ocean City’s Compressive Plan calls for preserving businesses. The town should not desire the loss of the food tax revenue. If a project could prove a prevailing public benefit, an appeals process with the planning commission would be a good option, allowing for alternative compromises to accomplish the mission of a great project.
Under section (E), we would request you add two additional incentives. One would be to allow 7.5 additional feet if a developer chooses to make the residential portion of his or her project at least 75 percent hotel rooms. The city benefit is support for convention center and room tax revenue that helps fund the high level of municipal services. The second incentive would be to allow 7.5 additional feet if the project would incorporate a year-round indoor attraction, adding a new draw to Ocean City’s shoulder and winter seasons, also giving an activity for our visitors on bad weather days. The maximum height for a resort destination hotel would then be 95 feet.
Attractions should be defined in such a way that they will bring a new activity to Ocean City. Museums, IMAX Theaters, Aquariums or maybe an indoor water park would be the desired type attractions. Retail, restaurants and on-site convention space would not qualify as an attraction in relationship to this incentive.
Thank you for your consideration. We are confident you will make the best decision for Ocean City and our dedicated Ocean City family.
Joseph T. Hall II
Pro-Expansion Letter Full Of Misconceptions
In response to the July 20 letter to the editor, “Yes to Expansion”, I contend that the expansion as proposed is not required and the public is not misinformed.
As for the expansion being necessary “to generate a huge revenue stream by attracting corporate investors who could base their operations here,” I ask: What corporate investors? Gambling? Where are these businessmen who want the airport expanded? Are they afraid to speak out and explain the need? As a former pilot said: “If the Ocean City Airport is too small for your airplane then you bought the wrong plane. “The airport’s characteristics are clearly posted on FAA and other sites. There is no new business to be based here, except gambling, art or Internet-based enterprise. Manufacturing would not have low labor rates or skilled labor and we are at the end of supply routes. Look at the dismal selection and stock situation at local stores.
The writer contends that “in the not too distant future, a host of faster, safer, quieter and more efficient next-generation aircraft which will be ideally suited for both profitable commuter airline service as well as private corporate enterprises will then have access to our airport.” First, would those new aircraft require longer runways? Second, Salisbury is the site chosen by the FAA for commuter aviation. Simmons Air passenger service did not succeed here.
As for the comments that “Medevac airplanes and helicopters could be based here…How many saved lives are needed to justify this? Is not just one (saved life) sufficient?” I ask: who will provide Medevac funding? Further, the helicopter is the primary Medevac airframe for first response and it fits the existing runway structure and operates here at present.
The writer dangles the promise of “on-demand air taxi service” with the possibility of “integrated Internet scheduling and point-to-point services. The time is right for a successful carrier to discover Ocean City.” A search of the Internet reveals that the SATS program was de-funded in 2005 and there are no more current postings on NASA web sites. The utility of convenient short hops to business meetings has been negated by the explosion of web video conferencing. Further, the time is not right. Salisbury is struggling to get a carrier to Baltimore. Senator Mikulski will have to pour money (our tax dollars) into making that a reality.
As for the contention that “Federal funding for a proposed modernization plan which will improve both airport functionality and safety is certainly a blessing and is greatly appreciated by the entire aviation community and many local residents”, it is true that improvements are nice, but this particular plan proposed by Ocean City is not appreciated by the majority of the county residents. Furthermore the airport is not unsafe as configured.
The writer complains of “the media’s negative editorials and slanted reporting, the County Commissioners’ opposition and the public’s ambivalent attitude”. The “negative editorials” are a different point of view and I can understand why that view is disturbing to an aviation buff. The editorials do reflect the citizens’ concerns and a non-aviator point of view as an expression of community input. The writer unfairly blames the public and the media for expressing and reporting their objections to this proposed expansion plan. A different layout of the runways and utilization of the golf course property should be explored.
The writer postulates that “…Ultimately, the loss of Ocean City Airport will affect not just the general aviation community but the public as well, perhaps even more. Once this airport is gone it cannot be replaced. That would be everyone’s loss.” This is a false threat. There is no indication that the airport will be closed. Closing the airport is against the FAA charter to promote General Aviation, the primary role of the Ocean City Airport. In addition, many who object to the expansion enjoy the annual air show, the skydivers and the biplanes.
Yep, it happened again – another random act of kindness within six months. While walking to the beach from the Ocean Pines Beach Club parking lot two young people asked "the question" – would you like us to help you carry your stuff to the beach? Taken aback, we hesitated for a moment and then we joyfully said yes and thank you so much.
Now listen, we are not incapacitated and are fully capable to have carried our own stuff however, we were carrying lots of the "stuff” needed while on the beach. While we realize no one was attacked, robbed, knifed or killed during this encounter, we do hope this random act will be known to all who read the paper – it’s so refreshing and heart warming. God bless our youth.
Jo and Jack Alexander
Ideas To Bring People To Town Need Attention
Well, it looks like the Town of Ocean City is getting ready to throw some more of my tax money at another problem, like it’s going to help.
For the past few weeks, all I’ve been reading about in the local rags is the Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association complaining about how much money they are losing because tourists are not coming to town. Well what did you expect after you have been ripping them off for decades? Ever heard of karma?
It seems to me that when someone has a cool idea that would set Ocean City apart from other similar destinations the “higher ups” work their hardest to stomp the idea. For instance, Joe Kroart wants to upend a few boats in front of his 2nd Street Boardwalk store, in the sand, like the Cadillac graveyard out west. So enter Susan Jones, director of the OCHMRA, who states how she’s concerned that the standard beach cleaning equipment might not be able to easily clean around them. Oh, heavens to murgatroid, someone might have to get off their duff and actually do something. Then, Bruce Gibbs, the town maintenance guy, comes up with “Well, why don’t we put them at Sunset Park?” Yeah, that’s good, then maybe one person out of 1,000 might stumble across them.
The town has got to listen to its citizens and business owners and start thinking outside the box. The tourism trade is going to get a lot worse before it gets better. The town leaders might be able to hide their heads in the sand but they’ll look real funny with their butts sticking up in the air.
Case in point, most of the locals in town remember when a few local boys starting filming an offshore fishing show. It was about five years ago. Well, they kept at it. Sometimes the money wasn’t good, sometimes the weather wasn’t good, but they kept going and now they are in the big time.
The Sportsman Channel has not only approved the show but has approved Dave Messick and his crew to do the filming and show content. Their fishing show is currently running and emails are coming in from all over the country asking for restaurant menus and hotel information.
Now here’s the important part. Dave approached the town council offering them to be tied into the show. This is nationwide exposure. The town has the chance to cash in on this and have the show promote Ocean City as the host town for the show. As of now, the “higher ups” are “thinking about it.”
Well, don’t think too long. It’s Dave’s show, he doesn’t have to even mention the words, “Ocean City”. There are beer companies and sporting good companies chopping at the bit to sponsor the show but Dave is giving Ocean City first bids out of loyalty to all the marinas and fishing boat captains that have helped him over years. Good luck, Dave. It will be interesting to see how long the town drags their feet on this.
Nationwide coverage will make or break this town. Another long time business has simply stated that it is costing too much money to stay in business and, “we are thinking about shutting down.”
Those words are one of the major reasons this summer season is so slow. You’ve probably figured out that I’m talking about Trimper’s Rides.
When this hit the papers, it was headline news. My mother in law called and said, “The Carroll County Times had Trimper Rides closing down as the front page headline news.” Then, my sister called from Frederick Md., same thing. Then a few days later my brother called from Berkley Springs, W.Va. and asked about Trimpers. News travels a little slower out there. Then he asked if they were going to be open when they came down in August for vacation. “If Trimpers is closed, there’s really not much for the kids to do except play miniature golf,” he said. I assured him they would be open this year, but next year, probably condos.
I keep hearing the phrase “Ocean City, the family town”. I’ve raised four kids in this town. They are pretty much grown up now and graduations will start next year. I am really glad they are not little any more, there really isn’t much to offer kids in this town except the downtown rides. My 15-year-old daughter sighs every time she hears “family town”. She says “How can they say that? There’s a bar on every corner. Maybe if they lowered the drinking age to 12.”
The town seems to be doing real well with special events like powerboat races, hot rods, White Marlin Open, Springfest, etc. The “higher ups” need to expand on different ideas. How about sand drags on the beach? How about classic cars as taxis?
Oh, that already happened, and it worked. Classic Taxi receives emails and phone calls from England, Scotland, Paris and just about every state in the US. Questions are “Can we really ride in one of those cars, we only see them in the movies?” Other people want to have their kids ride in them. Other people what to make sure a car will be available when they are here on vacation. Most people are blown away when they are told all they have to do is flag one down on the road or they can call for a car and have one show up in 10 or 15 minutes.
You’d be surprised at what ideas bring people to this town. So for the “higher ups” don’t shoot down the locals’ ideas, let them run with them and see what happens. The future of the town is changing. You can be like the reed and bend with the wind, or you can be like the oak tree and get blown down.
Let Joe Kroart bury some boats on the beach, it’s only sand. Keep Trimpers here, you know how to do it. Stop being greedy. As for Dave’s fishing show, seems like a no brainer to me, but then, I’m not a “higher up.”
Great Work Students
After only 15 days of rehearsal, students in upcoming grades 6-8 at Snow Hill Middle School put on the musical production of Aladdin on July 17 in the school cafeteria.
It was a spectacular performance. The students and staff are to be commended for a job well done. These students put hours into learning their lines, perfecting the lyrics of the songs, and acting their parts. Students also developed the set, designed the program, and served as ushers. Seeing the determination and perseverance of these young people has given the school and the community a great sense of pride.
This entire process brought the entire school community together to help children succeed. Thanks to all who assisted — the principal, custodians, assistant principals, secretaries, educational assistants and teachers. All were committed to making this an excellent learning experience for students.
A special thanks goes to Jack Cleveland, drama and English teacher at Snow Hill High School, director of the production; Stephen Boyd, choral teacher at Snow Hill High School, musical director of the production; Laura Cody, a Snow Hill High School graduate, choreographer; Jason Cumberledge, Snow Hill Middle School band director, in charge of light and sound; and Starr Robinson, educational assistant at Snow Hill Middle School, responsible for set design, costumes, and props. Thanks also to parent volunteer Mary Kane for assisting Ms. Robinson. Thanks to all parents for your support of this project.
On July 18 students, parents, and school staff traveled to New York City to see the musical, Hairspray. Students are again commended for their excellent behavior and proper theater etiquette.
Keep up the good work Snow Hill Middle School.
Shirley B. Moran
(The writer is the coordinator of English/Language Arts for Worcester County Public Schools.)