Council Okay With Granting Developer Extended Boundary

OCEAN CITY – A revision to the boundary line for the Eagle’s Nest Development was requested and approved in concept this week, with the ultimate goal to upgrade the current Eagle’s Nest Campground.

Hugh Cropper IV, attorney for property owner Jack Burbage, presented the request to the Mayor and City Council this week, explaining the reasoning behind the property line change of 65 square feet.

Eagle’s Nest Campground is located on 50 acres in West Ocean City at the east end of Eagles Nest Road. The property is surrounded on three sides by property owned by the town of Ocean City.

“Eagles Nest is currently performing an extensive upgrade to the campground. As part of the upgrade, numerous on-site septic systems will be replaced with a central, state-of-the-art wastewater treatment system. Associated with the wastewater treatment facility is a storage tank, known as a post equalization tank,” explained Cropper.

The method of disposal for the wastewater treatment system will be a drip irrigation system, to be located centrally, on the best soils of the property. Cropper noted that the drip irrigation system maintains the greatest environmental benefit and has gained the approval of the Maryland Department of the Environment.

As a part of the wastewater treatment process, effluent must be stored in the storage tank, post equalization tank, prior to the drip irrigation system. As a result, the storage tank was built and currently stands on the property.

Problems arose, however, when it was realized that the structure’s location violates Worcester County Code, which requires a 100-foot setback for wastewater treatment facilities. The storage tank stands 98 feet from the from the property line, just two feet short.

“We are requesting that the Mayor and City Council agree upon a mutual boundary line, which includes a very small bump, approximately two feet, in the area of the storage tank. Arguably, the net land area is approximately 65 square feet,” said Cropper.

Cropper noted that there would be no net change in the property, emphasizing it will only be used to establish a lot line, not for any other purpose.

Public Works Director Hal Adkins weighed in on the issue, pointing out that the legal ownership of the land is uncertain.

Although the land was purchased in 1977, with FAA funding, for the Airport Master Plan, soon after the purchase, Ocean City Public Works constructed Eagles Nest Road as a 50-foot right of way.

“There is no documented history that I have been able to uncover that confirms that the formal ‘release’ of this road was ever made to the County Commissioners,” said Adkins.

Adkins noted that if the Mayor and City Council legally own the land in question, FAA permission would need to be garnered before releasing it.

City Solicitor Guy Ayres agreed that consent from either the county or the FAA, depending on who is deemed to have legal “ownership” of the land, would need to be consulted before making any changes.

“I think as good neighbors we should try to help you through this,” said Councilman Jim Hall.

Hall made a motion to approve the concept, with the caveat that the FAA and county are consulted.

The council voted unanimously to approve the concept.