Townhouses, Commercial Space Planned For West OC Property

WEST OCEAN CITY – A 135-unit townhouse development featuring commercial space is being planned for a large parcel on Route 611.

A 40-acre site on the west side of Route 611 just north of Sinepuxent Road is set to become the location of Sea Oaks Village, a residential planned community (RPC). The Worcester County Planning Commission has approved a concept plan for the project and it is expected to move on to the Worcester County Commissioners for consideration next month.

According to attorney Hugh Cropper, Sea Oaks would include 135 townhouses — as well as a pool and tennis courts — and 24,000 square feet of commercial space. Roughly 35 acres would be devoted to residential use while five acres of the site closest to Route 611 would be developed commercially.

Cropper said the project fit the property’s zoning and he didn’t expect it to need any variances as it moved along in the approval process.

“It’s zoned for it,” he said, pointing out that the parcel was zoned R-3. “It’s sort of an infill project.”

He explained that the project was going through the RPC process, which required concept approval from the planning commission and then the county commissioners. If the concept is approved by the commissioners, the next stage is site plan review by the planning commission.

Cropper said it was typically a nine-month process.

At a meeting this week, the Worcester County Commissioners voted 4-3 to schedule a public hearing on the establishment of the RPC zoning for Sea Oaks Village for Nov. 7. Commissioner Jim Bunting asked county staff about the EDU (Equivalent Dwelling Unit) classification for the property.

“This project currently does not have any sewer EDUs,” said Kelly Shannahan, the county’s assistant chief administrative officer.

Shannahan said that the property transferred its original 40 EDUs to other properties in the West Ocean City area. Because of that, the developer will have to submit an application to purchase capacity.

“That application was submitted on Friday,” Shannahan said. “It will be reviewed by the sewer committee later this week.”

Shannahan said the commissioners would have the committee’s recommendation at their Oct. 17 meeting.

“If by chance you decline the EDU allocation we’d either postpone or cancel the public hearing because they would not have sewer capacity,” he said.

Commissioner Chip Bertino asked why Shannahan hadn’t waited to set the public hearing date until after the commissioners had considered the EDU application.

“That was a consideration, to wait until your Oct. 17 meeting before we scheduled the public hearing, but if we did that it would delay the project, the RPC approval, by another month because of the advertising requirements,” Shannahan said. “Instead of Nov. 7 it would have been December before we could hold the hearing. So, in deference to the request of the attorney I agreed to put this on your agenda for this meeting for you to consider scheduling the public hearing with the understanding that if the EDU allocation application was not submitted or if it was declined we would cancel the public hearing.”

The commissioners voted 4-3 to set the hearing for Nov. 7. Bunting, Bertino and Commissioner Ted Elder were opposed.

The property was sold for $2.2 million to Six Eleven Properties LLC in January with the seller listed as Kelly Farm Associates.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.