Code Change OK’d For WOC Cottage Court Proposal

SNOW HILL – A change to the county’s zoning code is expected to allow plans for a cottage court to proceed in West Ocean City.

The Worcester County Commissioners on Tuesday approved a text amendment to allow for cottage courts — groups of vacation bungalows like those that used to be common in Ocean City — in the R-4 general residential district. The amendment was proposed by attorney Hugh Cropper, whose client, Mark Odachowski, wants to build rental cottages on property in West Ocean City.

“When I was a kid, West Ocean City was full of cottages,” Cropper said. “It’s that kind of cohesive family setting we want to attract with this code amendment.”

The change proposed by Cropper would add provisions for “seasonal resort developments” (cottage courts) to the code. Such developments would be permitted by special exception in the R-4 district but only on properties at least five acres in size.

Cropper pointed out that there was not much R-4 zoning in the county and said it was already high density, which made it ideal for something like a cottage court.

“I think it’s consistent with what R-4 stands for,” he said.

The code change proposed by Cropper allows for up to eight cottages per acre. Cottages are limited to 600 square feet and will each be required to have two parking spaces. The cottages will be required to be closed four months of the year.

Odachowski told the commissioners he wanted to build cottages on nine acres he owns in West Ocean City. He said planned to offer weekly rentals to families for vacationing.

“I just wanted to do something quaint and charming,” he said, adding that cottages had once been common in the Ocean City area. “I just like the whole idea.”

When the public was given an opportunity to comment on the proposed text amendment, Salisbury resident Harold Scrimgeour said he supported the concept.

“This good idea should be carried to more areas,” he said.

The commissioners voted unanimously to approve the text amendment.

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.