Proposed Site Of YMCA Coming Up For Rezoning

SNOW HILL – The Marvin Steen owned property near Rt. 589, adjacent to the land once meant for a YMCA, will go before the Worcester County Planning Commission in May for a rezoning recommendation.

The 20-acre parcel of agricultural land between the south border of Ocean Pines and Gum Point Rd. must be rezoned to residential before further development activity can go forward.

The property, in the critical area, will also need to be awarded a portion of Worcester County’s growth allocation, a limited number of acres Worcester County is permitted to exempt from critical area building restrictions.

The rezoning must be approved before Steen can seek growth allocation, deputy director of Development, Review and Permitting Phyllis Wimbrow said.

The Worcester County Planning Commission will consider the rezoning request at a special work session on May 8 at 1 p.m.

“It’s going to be of concern to the Planning Commission. This isn’t one of those fairly simple rezonings. It’s going to have a broad impact,” Wimbrow said.

The Planning Commission wants to be able to take its time with the rezoning request and not be distracted by other issues needing attention, she said.

Then the Planning Commission will make a favorable or unfavorable recommendation on the rezoning to the Worcester County Commissioners. The commissioners will make the final rezoning decision, and can ignore the Planning Commission’s recommendation if they choose.

The site was awarded wastewater service from Ocean Pines during the north county YMCA saga several years ago. Steen donated the land for the long-sought YMCA, an Atlantic General Hospital wellness center and a new location for the Ocean Pines Chamber of Commerce, in exchange for annexation of his planned residential project into Ocean Pines, and sewer and water service for the homes he intended to build there.

Steen also agreed to pay for and build roads, sewer and water lines and other infrastructure.          Ocean Pines would benefit from assessment fees paid by the new property owners, he argued then.

While the YMCA was never built, due to an environmental permitting problem, the Steen property was not affected by the project’s halt. 

Steen originally planned to build 60 homes on the 20-acre site. There is no word on whether the project is intended to follow the original plan, as Steen was unavailable for comment.