Court Unlikely To Hear Boardwalk Case Until November

Court Unlikely To Hear Boardwalk Case Until November

OCEAN CITY — It will be business as usual this summer for the iconic Dumser’s Dairyland location on the east side of the Boardwalk while an appeal on the fate of the historic century-plus-old building continues to plod forward.

Ownership of the historic building was called into question last year after a 50-year agreement expired between the Town of Ocean City and the heirs of the original owner, Nathan Rapoport, who built the first structure on the site in 1912. After a trial last April, a Worcester County Circuit Court judge issued an opinion in favor of the Town of Ocean City.

As a result of that Worcester County Circuit Court decision, the Rapoport heirs, now Nathans Associates, were initially enjoined from any of use of the property after Oct. 31 last year and would have been required to remove or demolish the building before the end of this year. Of course, those deadlines came and went and the historic building on the east side of the Boardwalk at South Division Street still stands.

Nathans Associates last fall filed an appeal of the Worcester County Circuit Court ruling in favor of the town of Ocean City with the state’s Court of Special Appeals. However, the appeal process has been stalled for a variety of reasons. Attorneys for Nathans Associates filed their brief in late February and the town of Ocean City had 30 days to respond.

However, the Town of Ocean City requested Nathans Associates agree to a 60-day extension for which to respond. Nathans Associates consented to the request on the grounds it would be granted a similar 60-day time period to respond to the town’s answer once it was filed.

The long and short of it is, oral arguments in the case will now not be heard in the state’s Court of Special Appeals until at least early November of this year. As a result, Dumser’s Dairyland remains this summer at the historic location on the south end of the Boardwalk.

Despite the recent foul weather and back-to-back storms, Dumser’s opened the South Division Street location for the season in early March, just as it has done every season since 1971. The popular ice cream business will continue to operate as it has always done until the appeal runs its course one way or the other.

In 1966, Rapoport reached an agreement with the town to tear down the existing structure and erect a new and improved building with a commercial interest, now Dumser’s, on the Boardwalk level with living quarters above on the second floor. The agreement expired in 1991 and Rapoport’s heirs, now Nathans Associates, exercised its option for another 25 years. That second 25-year option on the 1966 agreement expired in 2016 and the city asserted its jurisdiction over the property.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.