OC Delays Call On Screening For High-Rise Project

OCEAN CITY – Approval of changes to the Gateway Grand Condominium project was postponed this week, with the Mayor and Council requesting further information on the desired amendments.

Joseph Moore, attorney for the project, came before the Mayor and Council at Monday night’s regular session to make a request on behalf of Carlyle/High Street Ocean City, LP. Moore explained that the company was seeking approval for a screening structure to cover the cooling towers on the north side of the parking garage of the Gateway Grand Condominium. The additional screening was not included in the original plans presented to the Mayor and Council.

According to Moore, the cooling towers are nine feet taller than originally anticipated, resulting in the need for the Mayor and Council’s approval of screening to shield the additional nine feet of cooling towers. Without the screening, the towers would be not be aesthetically pleasing.

“I’m just so very curious as to how you all could make a mistake like this,” said Councilwoman Mary Knight.

Moore explained that, as he understood it, the final site plans, which were approved by the Mayor and Council, did not include the details of the cooling towers or of the screenings. The mechanics are generally not detailed until later construction drawings. However, when the mechanics were detailed, the cooling towers ended up being taller than the estimated 35-feet.  As a result, the towers extend out of the original building structure established to hide the cooling towers.

Despite agreement from the Mayor and Council that screening was necessary for the cooling towers, member showed displeasure in having yet another project come before them with “after-the-fact,” requests for changes.

“This is not going to happen to the Mayor and Council anymore,” said Councilman Jim Hall, alluding to the Rivendell project, which resulted in months of dispute and headache after it failed to adhere to the approved site plans.

Hall maintained that while he was not against the request to add screening around the cooling towers and while the additional nine feet was on the side of the parking garage and not on the rooftop, he was still dissatisfied with the current trend of project changes.

 The council decided to postpone any decision on the changes until it could ask specific questions of the architect.