OCEAN CITY – A new oceanfront 15-story hotel proposed for Ocean City received initial site plan approval from the Planning and Zoning Commission last week.
Last Tuesday evening the Planning and Zoning Commission held an informal discussion regarding the Planned Overlay District to include a 15-story hotel, which will have 101 units. The site of the proposed hotel in the Planned Overlay District is on the south side of 34th Street on the ocean.
The design of the new hotel was presented by Jack Mumford of Becker Morgan Group. The applicant is OC Hotel Holdings, LLC.
Currently, the Quality Inn & Suites Beach Front stands on the north side of 33rd Street. The new hotel will be built on a vacant lot to the north of the Quality Inn and as proposed will be connected to the Quality Inn to share amenities.
Zoning Administrator Blaine Smith explained existing projects that are similar to what is being proposed are the Hilton located on 32nd Street and the ocean, the Holiday Inn on 17th Street and the ocean and the Gateway Grand on 48th Street and the ocean, which were also designed by Becker Morgan Group.
According to Ocean City Code, construction in the Planned Overlay District must meet a minimum of 90,000 square feet of lot area located in the permitted zoning district.
“There is something unique about it that it offers something better than the ‘factory version’ that would have more land coverage, so you are getting more open space,” Smith said.
At first, a 12-story building was designed to go along with Ocean City Code’s “height-by-right” regulation, Mumford explained, but the hotel ended up with only a few units facing the ocean while most faced the street on the north side, elevated parking and an elevated pool.
“We decided to come back with a smaller foot print with 15 stories rather than 12, so it is about 30 feet taller than what would be allowed with height-by-right but we were able to get all of the units oceanfront,” Mumford said. “We were also able to keep a vast majority of the site open, so we have more landscaping and light and air for the neighborhood.”
Mumford added the plan also includes more than what will be required for parking.
“The new hotel will be attached to the existing Quality Inn. It may function as two different brands with a shared front desk, but basically the amenities of the existing Quality Inn will be shared,” Mumford said. “We are adding a new pool on the oceanfront, and we enlarged the trash collection area but they will still work together.”
Mumford furthered, as done with the Hilton, Holiday Inn and Gateway Grand they are stepping the building, so it absorbs its own shadow as it gets taller. According to Ocean City Code, a shadow study was conducted on Sept. 7 at 10 a.m.
“We managed the shadows so there is no shadows cast across the street on neighbors or onto the beach past the dune line,” Mumford said.
In the near future, a formal site plan will come before the commission for review, attorney Joe Moore stated, who is representing the applicant.
“It really strikes you as a beautiful building,” he said.
Commission member Palmer Gillis and Commission Chair Pam Buckley both agreed.
“It is very functional with great landscaping,” Commission member Lauren Taylor said.
The Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously that as a result of a preliminary discussion the proposed site plan appears to be satisfactory. A formal site plan review will come before the commission in the future for a favorable recommendation to the Mayor and City Council for approval.