SNOW HILL – The Worcester County Commissioners last week approved the rezoning of the former Pine Shore Golf facility.
The Beauchamp Road property, which had carried E-1 estate zoning, will be reclassified as R-1 residential. Charles Nichols, whose family purchased the property in 2014, said the rezoning would allow the 950-acre property to be developed in a reasonable manner.
“We’re deeply involved in sustainable development,” Nichols said. “We think we have an opportunity here not only to make a change but make something that’s positive.”
Nichols said his family has owned the land adjacent to the defunct golf course since 1881. The family purchased the golf course property in 2014 when it was in foreclosure. Though the property needs some work, Nichols said the family was eager to improve it.
“This would give us an opportunity to maximize the development potential in a good way,” Nichols said.
Attorney Mark Cropper, representing the Nichols family, said the change in zoning being requested was the same that was recommended for the property in 2009 when the county adopted its most recent comprehensive zoning map.
“The rezoning that we have asked the county commissioners to consider today was recommended by the planning commission and your staff back in 2009,” he said. “The commissioners at that time came close to providing that zoning but for the confusion and misinformation relative to the estate zoning.”
The change, which received a favorable recommendation from the county’s planning commission in May, would allow for the construction of roughly 80 homes on the site. Cropper pointed out that the property was near Ocean Pines and River Run, both large residential communities.
He said the E-1 zoning was a mistake. He said it was not consistent with the goals of the county’s comprehensive plan and was to be gradually phased out. The most appropriate zoning classification, Cropper said, would be R-1.
Betty Tustin, the traffic engineer hired by the Nichols family, said the residential development of the golf course property would have little effect on area roads and would not require changes to the intersection of Beauchamp Road and Route 589.
“Beauchamp Road and Route 589 can easily accommodate that increase in traffic,” Cropper said.
The commissioners voted 7-0 to approve the rezoning.