Surf Machine’s Summer Plans Derailed

Surf Machine’s Summer Plans Derailed

OCEAN CITY – A Flow Rider surf machine is “dead in the water” for this summer due to a potential lawsuit.

On Tuesday, the Flow Rider surfing machine that was originally approved to be located downtown on the former Cropper’s concrete plant parking lot was scheduled to come before the Planning and Zoning Commission requesting approval of a Conditional Use permit to instead be located in the 45th Street Village. However the item was withdrawn from the agenda without any reason given.

In June, the Lazy Lizard LLC came before the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) requesting a special use exception to allow construction and operation of a Flow Rider surfing machine, to be known as OC Big Wave, in a Manufacturing (M) District.

The proposed site was the former Cropper’s concrete plant parking lot located adjacent to the Lazy Lizard restaurant. As proposed the site would include ample parking, a snack shack, smoothie bar, changing rooms, bathrooms, merchandise and ticket sales.

The BZA determined the use of a Flow Rider is not detrimental to the neighborhood and granted the special exception.

At that time, the OC Big Wave aimed to open by July 4, said Todd Hays of T & W Redevelopment, who manages the Lazy Lizard Marina, Sea Rocket and Jet Ski operations in that area.

Since then, T & W Redevelopment have been in discussion with Avi Sibony, owner of the 45th Street On The Bay commercial development, who is interested in partnering with the operation and allowing the Flow Rider to instead be located in his village with a long-term lease versus a year-to-year lease with the Cropper property.

“We want to move it because the traffic that we could expose the ride to at 45th Street Village is just much more than the old Cropper Concrete Plant,” Hays said on Wednesday. “Also, the landlord [Sibony] was willing to be a partner in it with a multiple-year lease, so we wouldn’t have to potentially move it for some time.”

According to Hays, Sibony was originally interested in installing a Flow Rider surf machine a few years ago in front of the former Shallow Waters restaurant on the southeast side of 45th Street Village. However, Sibony recently had a hotel site plan approved to be built instead.

As part of that site plan, a retail pad on the northeast corner of the village in front of OC Steamers was also approved, which is now the proposed location for the Flow Rider.

Prior to construction, 45th Street Village LLC will have to receive a Conditional Use permit to allow a water-related recreational activity in the Shopping Center District (SC-1). The hearing was scheduled for Tuesday evening until it was removed due to the threat of a lawsuit.

“Our friends at Jolly Roger’s threatened a lawsuit against the Town of Ocean City and T & W Redevelopment to overturn the special exception the Flow Rider had gained. Until we can get that sorted out, I am going to steer clear,” Hays said. “I don’t know what the motivation is.”

According to Hays, the plan is to meet with Charles “Buddy” Jenkins, owner of Jolly Roger Amusement Park, to discuss his concern.

“If he doesn’t want to see it at 45th Street Village, we would love to see it at Jolly Roger’s,” Hays said. “I am also seeking a meeting with Frontier Town. If it is going to be such a problem to have it on the island, perhaps it could be there.”

The Flow Rider has been purchased and delivered but until it finds a home its operation is dead in the water for this summer, Hays said.

As of Thursday, Jolly Roger was unavailable to comment regarding the potential law suit.