Revised Height Regs Okayed

OCEAN CITY – The ordinance outlining downtown height regulations saw another change this week when the City Council approved the proposed amendment to the ordinance.

Jesse Houston, director of Planning and Development, came before the Mayor and Council at Tuesday’s work session to point out a minor but important discrepancy in the ordinance.

Houston explained that prior to the vote to adopt the ordinance in June, the Mayor and Council decided to make a change to the maximum height between Baltimore and Philadelphia Ave. Discussions over the proposed maximum height of four stories and 40 feet resulted in the decision to lower the maximum height. The council voted, prior to approval of the ordinance through second reading, to amend the height to three stores and 35 feet in the areas between Baltimore and Philadelphia avenues from 3rd to 17th streets.

According to Houston, that change affected the R-3A district, 3rd to 17th streets, but not the DMX district, North Division to 3rd streets.

Houston explained that after the changes to the downtown height regulations were addressed at a Mayor and Council meeting earlier this month, he noticed the possible discrepancy in the ordinance and felt it necessary to bring it the attention of the Mayor and Council.

Houston asked the Mayor and Council whether they had intended for the amended height to also impact the areas between North Division and 3rd Street and Baltimore to St Louis avenues.

The council agreed that its intention was to include that area and agreed that the amendments should be made.

Councilman Jim Hall questioned whether the public was aware of the previous changes. Hall commented on a building that he has heard has been approved above those height limitations in that area. Houston was unaware of the plans and told the Mayor and Council that he would look into the matter.

The ordinance will change from reading, “except between Baltimore Ave. and Philadelphia Ave. from 3rd Street to 15th Street shall be no more than 35 feet, and shall be no more than three stories” to “except between Baltimore Ave. and St. Louis Ave. from North Division to 17th…”

The council voted six in favor with Hall abstaining to approve the recommended amendments.