Wednesday, May 7 – Bayside Condo Project Planned

OCEAN CITY – Plans for an eight-story condominium building were presented to the Planning and Zoning Commission this week, and although the building will not be a mixed-use project, the commission looked favorably upon the early stages of the plans.

An informal discussion of the 44th Street project was held Tuesday. Informal discussions in front of the Planning Commission were part of the criteria passed with Special Bayside Regulations in 2007. All projects must undergo an informal discussion before the commission before final site plan approval.

Jack Mumford, senior associated with Becker Morgan, architect for the project, presented the commission with the plans.

The plans call for an eight-story condominium building, to be located on 44th Street and the bayside. The site, formerly the home of a gas station and car wash, has been vacant for more than two years. The building will house 35 units, 14 of which will be three-bedroom units and 21 of which will be two-bedroom units.

Required landscaping and parking will be met, said Mumford.

Zoning Administrator Blaine Smith cautioned the commission on the potential effect on the wetlands.

“I really think we have to have more input from the environmental groups and from the state before we give final site plan approval,” he said.

Smith also pointed out that the project lacks any commercial or mixed-use element, noting that the Special Bayside Regulations were passed in an effort to provide incentives to encourage the development of more mixed-use projects.

“The intent was to have mixed-use if at all possible,” said Smith.

The goal of the bayside development regulations has been to allow for taller buildings if the builders compromised by meeting regulations in other areas such as setbacks, parking, shadows and bulk. The hope is that it would provide an incentive for builders to create more diversified buildings that are not the standard five-story condo buildings, which were built routinely during the most recent condominium craze.

Mumford explained that an easement from the neighboring grocery store prevented the building from sitting along Coastal Highway. As a result, the building will sit 115 feet off of the highway. Mumford noted that commercial space would most likely not be viable in a location that far from the highway.

Commission member Lauren Taylor said that she would rather have an eight-story building sit further back from the highway then gain commercial or mixed-use space.

“It seems to sit in that particular area very well,” said Commission member Chris Shanahan.

The commission looked favorably on the plans. The applicant will return for final site plan approval at a later date.

For all the week’s news, see The Dispatch on Friday morning.