Property Found In Compliance After Owner Appeals

OCEAN CITY – An appeal regarding a lot maintenance violation at a mid-town building was discussed at the council level this week, and while the lot was ultimately deemed in compliance, with regard to matters pertinent the City Council, the owner was advised nonetheless to keep the lot clean.

Thomas Hofman, owner of 109 79th Street, came before the City Council two weeks ago, visibly upset at the suggestion that his lot was not well maintained. At that time, Hofman explained to the council the various plant species that can be found on his lot, noting that while he could keep the lot cleaner, he did not find it offensive.

Hofman received notification from the town on Aug. 13 that his property was indeed in violation of the Standard Housing Code. The lot was found to be in violation in a number of ways including excess debris, uncut weeds and grass and missing screens. The notification pointed out that, “It shall be unlawful for the owner or occupant of a residential building, structure, or property to utilize the premises of such residential property for the open storage of any inoperable motor vehicle, ice box, refrigerator, stove, glass, building material, building rubbish or similar items.”

Hofman took matters before the council once again this week, appealing the decision to the council level.

City Solicitor Guy Ayres advised the council that any appeal to its level would only be relative to the uncut grass and overgrowth of weeds, not any of the other areas of violation.

“The only issue before you tonight is the decision of the building inspector relative to the grass and weeds,” advised Ayres.

Chief Building Official Mike Richardson weighed in on the current state of the property relative to grass and weeds, reporting that, regarding weeds and uncut grass, the property is now in compliance.

“The weeds have been cut, the property has been cleared up as far the tall grass and weeds,” he said.

“I can assure this body that I am on it, that I am consciously aware of what is offensive,” said Hofman, adding that there is no ragweed or poison ivy on his property.

While issues relative to the council were easily resolved at Monday night’s meeting, with the grass and weed situation reportedly under control, other areas of the property were addressed as well.

“I personally never had a problem with the growth, however, some of the other stuff that’s around your house, I would hope that you would take it upon yourself to clear that out as soon as possible,” said Council member Nancy Howard, referring to various debris and items on the property, such as shopping carts.

Hofman informed the council that the items serve as habitat to small creatures, protecting them from larger predators.

“We’re not going to stop the chain of life here in Ocean City as it is,” said Howard, encouraging Hofman to clean up the lot.