Ocean City Clarifies Parking Language

OCEAN CITY – Language within the city’s code regarding parking requirements was clarified this week.

The Planning and Zoning Commission held a public hearing to consider amending a section of the code that states, “Where fractional spaces result, the parking spaces required shall be construed to be the next highest whole number.”

The proposed amendment was, “Where a fractional space results after tabulating the total number of required spaces, the parking spaces required shall be construed to be the next highest whole number.”

Another section states, “In the case of mixed uses, or uses with different parking requirements occupying the same building or premises, or in the case of joint use of a building or premises by more than one use having the same parking requirements, the parking spaces required shall equal the sum of the requirements of the various uses computed separately, except that parking requirements for permitted accessory retail and service uses in a hotel, motel or motor lodge containing 50 or more dwelling units may be reduced by the following percentages; retail sales, offices and service establishments, 30 percent, restaurants and dining rooms, 50 percent, ballrooms, banquet halls, meeting rooms and auditoriums, 70 percent.”

The proposed amendment adds the following language, “…computed separately, except that in such mixed uses the computation shall not be subject to the base minimum requirement specified in section 110-932 (b) for individual uses; and that the parking requirements …”

Zoning Administrator Blaine Smith explained the language within the code is proposed to be amended for the purpose to clarify, not to change.

According to Smith, he met with City Solicitor Guy Ayres and local Land Use/Zoning Attorney Joe Moore and agreed that the code needed clarification by amendment.

“Basically you tabulate each use separate, not including the minimum, and if you do round up you do it at the end not with each individual item,” Smith said.

Smith has been challenged by an individual who has accused him over interpreting the code wrong.

“He took our code literally, and said ‘I can read it differently than you do,’” Smith said. “He was advised that this hearing is taking place tonight.”

There were no public comments made at the public hearing. The challenger was not present.

Commission member Chris Shanahan made a motion to approve the amendments as presented and the vote was unanimous.

“I think the way we have been allocating required parking, as far as the numbers go, has been working,” Commission Chair Pam Buckley said. “We are just reiterating and making it less complicated for the reader.”