OC’s Party Block Eyes Pool Bar Addition

OCEAN CITY – The Party Block could be seeing an expansion in the near future that would include a pool bar and lounge area, an addition that would expand the current scope of the business from strictly night time entertainment to all day enjoyment.

Owner Ralph DeAngelus and attorney Joe Moore appeared before the Planning and Zoning Commission this week for an administrative review of the plans.

The Party Block, located on 17th Street and Coastal Highway, has been providing drinks and entertainment to Ocean City visitors and residents for years through the three night clubs housed inside the Party Block; Big Kahuna, Rush, and Paddock. Owners Ralph DeAngelus and Robert Rosenblit hope to expand on their current nightclub success and incorporate a pool bar into the mix.

The site plans call for an open-air pool bar to be located where the Party Block’s parking lot currently stands. In order to make room for the pool bar addition and to prevent any loss of parking, the parking lot will be relocated to the east to an existing parking lot located behind the building. The existing parking lot was bought by the Party Block owners four years ago, but has been leased to the neighboring Sea Nymph for the past several years. With that lease coming to an end, the owners will reclaim the parking lot and convert it to Party Block parking spaces.

The Party Block currently has 28 spaces in their adjacent parking lot, and will maintain 28 spaces in the relocation of the lot. Zoning Administrator Blaine Smith pointed out that because the addition is an open, un-enclosed space, no additional parking spaces would be required of the expansion.

The proposed addition calls for a 20-foot by 40-foot pool, a lounge area, service bar, cabanas and shower services. The private cabanas will be raised three feet and will be the size of a queen-sized bed, providing an area for patrons to relax. A seven-foot privacy wall will be placed along the west and south sides along Philadelphia Ave. and 17th Street to provide privacy and security.

“This is supposed to be a more intimate thing, where people lounge instead of dancing,” said Moore.

DeAngelus explained that the pool bar would open daily at 11 a.m. and would usually close around 7 p.m. each night.

“Its going to be very rare that we’re open until 2 a.m.,” DeAngelus said.

DeAngelus cited Memorial Day weekend as an instance when the pool bar might remain open to provide more room for patrons.

“This is to be an outside gathering, more laid back,” DeAngelus said.

The Planning and Zoning Commission voiced concerns over lighting and noise, questioning the burden that the open space may place on neighboring properties. Smith addressed the lighting issue, explaining that the owners had been advised to keep lighting contained, adding that he is confident they will do so.

Commission member Lauren Taylor requested that the motion to approve the plans include language that would place a limit on noise.

“Why would you put a stronger burden on a business in LC-1 than anywhere else in town?,” questioned Moore, pointing out that the Party Block would have to abide by the town’s noise ordinance like any other business.

Taylor expressed concerns over the effects excess noise could have on the heavily traveled pedestrian area and on neighboring properties such as Anthony’s.

Despite concerns over noise, it was agreed that noise regulation does not lie in the scope of the Planning and Zoning Commissions control. Commission attorney Will Esham III pointed out that the Party Block had been compliant with noise issues in the past.

The commission unanimously approved the site plans with the understanding that music would be of an ambience nature. A favorable recommendation will be sent to the Mayor and Council for review.