Old Pro Expansion Plans Okayed

OCEAN CITY – Although Old Pro Golf got the green light from City Council to expand one of its seven themed mini-golf courses, don’t expect construction to start straight away.

The Planning and Zoning Commission and the Mayor and City Council both approved plans for the expansion of the Old Pro Golf course on 136th Street in Ocean City, passing through plans of the proposed enlarged course, an indoor/outdoor pavilion and an office building on the grounds.

After passing through a required public hearing in late October with a 6-0 vote from the Planning and Zoning Commission for conditional usage, the project got the nod from the City Council on Monday with a similar unanimous vote in Councilman Joe Hall’s absence.

The project will expand the existing golf course on 136th Street towards Coastal Highway, removing parking spots and two “curb cuts” and covering part of one of the courses with a roofed “open air” pavilion that will provide shelter for golfers.

“It will not add more holes to the course, but rather, rearrange some of the existing holes so that they are under the pavilion,” said Scott Schoellkopf, who is the son of founder Herb Schoellkopf and manages the family-run mini-golf course business.

During the public hearing, Planning and Zoning Commissioner Lauren Taylor seemed to take umbrage with the initial plans for a triangular translucent roof made of poly-carbonate saying,

“If this were a site plan approval, I would not vote for it, but since it’s conditional use it’s fine; another golf course is a great thing. We need it, we love it, but I would just like to see a structure that adds to the city rather than just being a utility piece,” she said.

According to Scott Shoellkopf, the family decided to change the plans for the roofed pavilion to be “similar to the layout and structure of that of 68th Street’s roof”, but said that it was a family decision and not one merely to get it passed through the commission or the council.

Despite the fact that the city has approved the expansion, Schoellkopf hinted that the start-date of the project won’t be decided until after the holiday season and construction might take place in two phases.

“With the economy being the way it is, we certainly have to take that into consideration,” Schoellkopf said. “If the economy were different, this expansion would certainly increase our revenue, but at this point, we are going to have to wait and see what kind of budget my brother [and course architect Jeff] brings to us for the project before we make the family decision.”