Revised Site Plan For OC’s First Marriott Okayed

OCEAN CITY – A revised site plan of the Miramar Marriott Hotel and Condominium came before the Planning and Zoning Commission Tuesday night, resulting in unanimous approval of the changes.

Jeff Thaler, representing Atlantic Coast Development, along with Zoning Administrator Blaine Smith presented the commission with a clear outline of the changes that were being proposed.

The Miramar, which will be replacing the old Santa Maria Motel on 15th Street and the Boardwalk, partnered with Marriott for the hotel and condominium building, resulting in some changes that would fit the Marriott look. Smith explained that the major changes were being made to the floor plans, the driveways and parking.

Smith presented the commission with an itemized list of changes. The commission has made it clear lately that any changes brought before itneeded to be clearly itemized and highlighted so that nothing is overlooked.

Smith noted that a circular type entry, typical of Marriott Courtyard Hotels, would be utilized for main entry to the hotel. One of the changes to the entry calls for a one-way traffic pattern instead of two, but Smith pointed out that there would still be room for two-way traffic for vehicles to pass one another. He added that the intention of Marriott is to properly receive people as they arrive.

Parking changes were also highlighted. Smith pointed out project officials would be, if approved, shifting all of the parking spaces to eight-foot spaces to pick-up an extra parking space. He added that the project would still have more than the required amount of spaces.

Changes to the recreation deck, resulting in the expansion and addition of two columns, were also made as a result of requests from Marriott.

Thaler explained that the Marriott Courtyard was moving in a new direction.

“Courtyards evidently are moving up in class and are no longer that business-class hotel,” he said, explaining that this Marriott Courtyard would be one of the first to reflect the new Courtyard style.

The new style of Marriott includes bolder colors as well as a more modern look.

“I personally prefer the one we had before,” said Chairperson Pamela Buckley of the revised site plans, expressing concern that the new plans would be too modern for that area.

Glenn Irwin, executive director of the Ocean City Development Corporation (OCDC), weighed in on the issue, explaining that the building was in what he classified as “motel row” and that the OCDC was not in a position to rate the standards of the building.

Irwin also suggested that trees and landscaping be placed between the road and the sidewalk to maintain safety and to give a more urban look.

Commissioner Peck Miller showed support for the revised site plans, saying, “It has the potential to be a very stately building.” Miller also requested that shrubbery be planted along the building to act as a screen to the parking garage.

The commission voted unanimously to approve the revised site plans with Commissioner Lauren Taylor absent. Taylor and her brother Edmund Conner’s family operated for decades the Santa Maria Motel and Captains Table Restaurant, which will be included in the new building.