Parking Lot Lease Gives Condo Board Chance For Fence

OCEAN CITY – A few residents of Jamestown Road got a bit strategic with the City Council on Monday, taking issue with one matter and then quickly switching gears to address another.

In late April, council approved a request from Greene Turtle owner Steve Pappas to lease city-owned property on Jamestown Road to be used as additional parking for his popular uptown restaurant.

Council voted unanimously to lease the lot to Pappas for $5,000 a year for at least the next three years. In addition, Pappas agreed to install additional lighting in the lot itself to address any safety concerns brought on by darkness.

However, some residents who live behind the Greene Turtle in the Balmoral condominiums took umbrage with the decision and wrote a letter to council requesting a conversation with the voting seven.

In a letter dated May 6, Vanessa A.H. Robertson of Legum and Norman, Inc., told the council that the board of directors from the Balmoral condo association demanded to vocalize their stance on the council’s decision to grant Pappas the new lease.

Yet, when Vice President Tom Bender of the condo association got in front of the council, his ruse became quite transparent based on his own admissions.

“First of all, let me say that we don’t have any problem with Mr. Pappas putting in the parking lot, but we just feel that we should have known about it before the decision was made,” said Bender. “We feel that the back of the plaza (Oyster Bay Shopping Plaza) is just a disaster and we feel that 99.9 percent of the problems would be fixed with the installation of a fence.”

Bender said that his association has had a desire for a fence to be installed for many years, in order to block some of the trash receptacles and cut down on some of the noise, but has gotten little to no support in moving the desire to become a reality. Bender used the issue of Pappas’ agreement with the city to get in front of the council so that he could request the installation of a fence.

Bender came prepared, however, armed with a letter from Pappas saying he would be willing to install a fence.

“I really think that we need to allow [Pappas] to put up this fence,” said Councilman Jim Hall. “It’s a unique situation up there on Jamestown Road, as you have commercial right up against residential, and I think a fence would alleviate this situation.”

Hall called the decision a “good end to a good story” and noted that he recalled just how long residents of Jamestown had been verbalizing their desire for a fence.