OCEAN CITY — Long-time Planning and Zoning Commission John Staley this week was feted with a special ceremony at City Hall marking his retirement from the planning body after 27 years.
For the last 27 years, Staley has served on the resort’s Planning and Zoning Commission, the body charged with reviewing and approving site plans, code changes, special exceptions, design standards and the like for new development projects. The Planning and Zoning Commission also plays an important role in the development of long-term comprehensive plans for Ocean City. Mayor Rich Meehan said Staley joined the planning commission at a time of great change in Ocean City and helped make important decisions on the direction of the town.
“Twenty-seven years is a long time to serve in any capacity,” he said. “He has played an important part of a lot of the new changes in Ocean City over the years. I’m not sure how they’re going to replace the wisdom and common sense John Staley brought to the planning commission.”
During Staley’s tenure on the planning commission, Ocean City has steadily evolved into the vibrant year-round community it has become. Meehan praised Staley for his service and somewhat tongue-in-cheek said the distinguished older gentleman is now free to pursue other hobbies.
“John came here at a turning point in Ocean City and its evolution to a full year-round community,” said Meehan. “I see his colleagues from the planning commission here and I think we’re all feeling the same loss, but we’re all also happy he can enjoy retirement and do the things he loves to do like water skiing and sky-diving.”
Staley has also served in many other civic organizations and various boards and panels over the years. For example, he served as president of the Worcester County Library Commission for many years and sat on the Ocean City Ethics Committee as well. He is also a member of the Elks, the American Legion and the VFW in Ocean City. He is deeply involved in his St. Luke-St. Andrew and St. John Neuman Catholic Parish in the resort area. In 2007, Staley was named the Greater Ocean City Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year.
“It’s not just his leadership on the planning commission,” said Meehan. “John has been a leader in various capacities in this town. He is truly a leader in our community.”
Planning Commission Chair and long-time colleague Pam Buckley also had high praise for Staley on Tuesday.
“I can’t think of a finer man,” she said. “It’s been a pleasure to serve with John for the last 27 years. He endeavors to keep this community the best it can be …”