Downtown Restaurant’s Site Plan Approval Extended By 18 Months

OCEAN CITY – A proposed major bayfront restaurant project in downtown Ocean City received an extension of its site plan last week to allow for final design decisions to be made.

Last Tuesday the Planning and Zoning Commission considered a request submitted to extend site plan approval of a 5,104-square-foot restaurant, tiki bar and playground area to be located on the west side of Philadelphia Ave. and south side of South Division St. on the bayside. It is located south of Sunset Park. A site plan approval grants 18 months for construction to begin. Applicant John Stamato was requesting for an additional 18 months.

The project was first proposed as a 10,893-square-foot restaurant and tiki bar with two on-site employee housing units. The commission was concerned over the project only having one exit/entrance point. Keith Iott, president of Iott Architecture & Engineering, Inc., returned to the commission with an altered site plan that provided a second exit and eliminated the housing.

The project is now a 5,104-square-foot, one-story building with an enclosed restaurant with indoor seating attached to a private boardwalk and a covered tiki bar.
The building will be placed on the back side of the triangular property, allowing guests to take in the vistas of West Ocean City and Assateague.
“The developer and the restaurateur have spent a lot of time on the interior and kitchen plan. The other thing is there is a more ambitious design they would like to pursue but that is dependent upon obtaining off-site parking through some means,” Iott said. “We were ready to go with a foundation permit to start foundation but they decided to hold off until they had the building fully designed … We are hopeful that construction will move ahead and foundation can begin late this summer or fall.”

Commission member Peck Miller pointed out the plan before the commission hasn’t changed.

“The plan is still code compliant. I like the plan, the waterfront is going to be truly beautiful when it is done … I would like to give them a year and half,” Miller said.

Commission member Lauren Taylor made a motion to approve an 18-month site plan approval extension, and the commission voted unanimously to approve.

“It is an attractive building and will be another bayside amenity to the downtown, upscale and family friendly, which is what we are trying to do,” Taylor said.