Hobbit Decision On Occupancy Delayed Again

OCEAN CITY – Hopes of an
early opening of The Hobbit Restaurant were delayed for a second time this
week, as the City Council voted to postpone the decision until Monday night
with hope that lingering issues could be resolved.

The Hobbit Restaurant
owner Tom Heiderman came before the City Council once again this week in hopes
of receiving a partial occupancy permit that would allow him to open the
restaurant earlier than the Rivendell Condominium project. Despite Heidermans’
promises to meet all goals before opening his doors, the City Council remained
reluctant to make any decisions that would fuel the contention that has
surrounded the project.

Heiderman is aiming for
an opening date of April 23. He explained that in the event Rivendell does not
receive their Certificate of Occupancy, he would like the council’s permission
to open the restaurant anyway.

Heiderman came before
the council in early March with the request, but was told to return this week
when more progress had been made.

Although several of the
items concerning the council have been completed or are close to completion,
one issue remains, the screening of the air-conditioning units. Screening of
the units, located on the side of the restaurant, were a contentious issue for
the neighboring Bay Princess residents. As a result, screening of the units was
made a condition of approval for the project.

Heiderman reported this
week that while he ordered the screening material in January, it has not
arrived or been installed. Heiderman requested permission for partial occupancy

“I don’t have any
control of when its coming…when they bring it in it’s going in right away,”
said Heiderman.

“I still have a problem
with the screening, this is important to the Bay Princess people,” said
Councilwoman Margaret Pillas.

“So the fact that I’ve
been in business for 30 years in this town means nothing,” said Heiderman.

Councilman Jim Hall
suggested that Heiderman come back Monday night to give another update before
the council makes a decision.

“I don’t see any reason
why you shouldn’t get it, but we’ll be a lot further along in a week,” said

Heiderman agreed to come
back, but noted that the screening most likely would not have arrived by that

“You’re going to hold
the whole building up if you don’t get that screening in,” said Hall. 

The council suggested
Heiderman meet with the Bay Princess Association and get concurrence from them
on the screening issue.