New OC Boat Ramp Could Be Open By 2016 Season

OCEAN CITY – With property issues settled and permits nearly secured, the long-awaited mid-town public boat ramp should be ready for the summer of 2016 if all goes as planned.

As of August, the Town of Ocean City was heading toward a condemnation process over parcels needed to construct the proposed two-lane public boat ramp on 64th Street directly east of the water tower. While the legal process took place, the city wanted to move forward with state and federal permit processes and directed staff to investigate a one-lane ramp instead that wouldn’t need the additional parcels to be built.

The town had come to a stalemate with property owners Robert Kirchiro and Matin Maghsouzadeh over their mostly submerged five parcels needed to construct the dual boat ramp that was scheduled to get underway over two years ago.

The property owners owned a total of 32 mostly submerged parcels purchased by Kirchiro’s grandfather, Hartford Bealer, in 2007. The town offered $25,000 for the five parcels, which was considered generous considering the assessed value came in at $10,000. However, the property owners argued that while the assessed value was appropriate on a taxable base, the parcels’ development value was worth at least $200,000.

According to City Engineer Terry McGean, prior to the condemnation process taking place, OC Land Holdings, which owns Dead Freddies Island Grill nearby, came to an agreement with Kirchiro and Maghsouzadeh and bought all of the land. In turn, OC Land Holdings sold the five parcels to the town.

“The property issue was resolved. We did not have to go through the condemnation process. Dead Freddies [OC Land Holdings] ended up buying all of the parcels from the property owners and sold us the pieces we were interested in at the price we had previously offered,” McGean said.

The design for the dual boat ramp has been completed and is going through the permitting process.

“I am hoping we will have all our permits soon. It is a lengthy process because it involves a lot of dredging,” McGean said. “I am hoping we will see something this month, in which case we will then go out to bid. My goal is to have the ramp done by next [summer] season if no other major surprises come up.”

If the permits are received in upcoming weeks, bids for construction will go out this spring with construction slated to begin this summer. Construction will include dredging the channel from the bay to the lagoon between 64th Street and Route 90 behind Dead Freddies and construction of the ramp and corresponding parking lot that will be located on the north side of 64th Street.

In 2012, the Mayor and City Council voted to construct a new two-lane boat ramp and trailer parking facility on 64th Street. The mid-town location was chosen because it is surrounded by commercial and governmental uses.

The concept was brought forward to relieve congestion at the current city-operated, single-lane public boat ramp in the residential neighborhood of Little Salisbury as well as increase access to the coastal bays and the Atlantic Ocean.

At that time, the Department of Natural Resources granted $815,000 to cover dredging expenses and the city appropriated $750,000 to construct the ramp and parking.

In 2013, it became apparent the purchase of additional property would be needed to fulfill the design of a two-lane boat ramp, due to the placement of the water tank and its utilities projecting into the site.