Route 50 Shopping Center Plans Advance

SNOW HILL — The shopping center around Wal-Mart and Home Depot in West Ocean City is about to grow after the Worcester County Planning Commission approved a 15,755-square-foot commercial building to be included in the area.

The commission granted conditional site plan approval last week for the “Ocean Landings I Building” to be located on the south side of Route 50, just north of Wal-Mart.

According to attorney Mark Cropper, who represented developer Ocean City Partners and Daft McCune Walker, the building would have “a very similar aesthetic” to the Wal-Mart and the Home Depot and would borrow colors and designs to best blend in.

Because the building is only in the earliest concept stages, most of the specifics are still unknown, including what businesses will eventually set up shot inside.

Bob Palmer, a developer and spokesperson for the project, told the commission that there could be several independent stores inside, depending on their uses.

“The maximum is eight units,” he said, adding that anything from restaurants to retail could be contained in the building.

The commission was in favor of the plan, but had a few issues with aesthetics. Commissioner Wayne Hartman suggested adding more transparency to the design, either through actual windows or faux windows, which would break up the monotony of plain walls.

The rest of the commission agreed that the design could use some tweaking, but granted site plan approval, as long as the designers made minor alterations to transparency and detail work. Elevation drawings for the building will also have to come up before the commission for approval in the near future.

Cropper also spoke to the commission on behalf of Blair Snyder, a property owner interested in changing county code to allow the construction of a boarding stable on his property.

Snyder hopes to build the stable on his 36-acre property near Whitehorse Park. In order to limit the areas where stables could be built, Cropper proposed a 10-acre minimum requirement for a stable area. He cited comments by the Department of Development Review and Permitting as support for the text amendment.

“Quite honestly, they made all of the arguments I was going to make,” said Cropper.

The commission unanimously agreed to give Cropper’s proposal a favorable recommendation and it will now be forwarded to the County Commissioners.