Friday, November 9 – Council Puts Rivendell Issue To Rest

OCEAN CITY – The Rivendell height issue was finally laid to rest this week as the City Council voted 6-1 to approve, on second reading, the ordinance outlining the building amendments.

The 88-unit Rivendell condominium project, located between 80th and 81st streets on the bayside, has remained a hot topic over the past few months, ever since the building’s five-foot height discrepancy came to light in July. Other issues arose as well, including concerns over air compressors along the restaurant, changes in sidewalk width and location of the restaurant dumpsters. The issues resulted in several discussions before the Mayor and Council, as well as a public hearing before the Planning and Zoning Commission that resulted in numerous neighbors voicing their dissatisfaction with the project.

Compromises were eventually met between the Rivendell project owners and the disgruntled neighbors, but many still felt that a punishment needed to be enforced on Rivendell for building too high and for making changes without the consent of the Mayor and Council or the Planning and Zoning Commission.

To make up for the headache caused by the Rivendell project, owner Rob Buccini offered to pay for all repairs and repave both 80th and 81st streets and the sidewalks along both streets.

He also agreed to pay the $6,128 in costs that Councilwoman Mary Knight suggested. Knight requested the funds in an effort to have the town reimbursed for the time and money spent on Rivendell’s discrepancies.

Wendie Stabler, attorney for the Rivendell project, pointed out in a letter to the town this week that the road paving and sidewalk repair might be delayed until spring.

“Due to weather conditions, it is quite possible that paving cannot take place until the weather breaks in the spring,” Stabler said, adding later that the road and sidewalk work should be done before the busy season begins.

The second reading of the ordinance, outlining the compromises as well as approving the new height, came before the City Council at Monday night’s regular session.

Councilman Jay Hancock maintained that he did not support the ordinance, adding that stronger penalties for such behavior needed to be created.

“I still think this doesn’t go far enough in discouraging other builders,” he said.

The council voted six in favor, with Hancock in opposition, to pass the ordinance on second reading.