West OC Project Gets EDUs After Request Reduced

OCEAN CITY – A townhouse project on Route 611 is expected to move forward following county leaders’ approval of sewer capacity for the development.

A request from Sea Oaks Village LLC for 63 EDUs (equivalent dwelling units) of sanitary sewer service was approved by the Worcester County Commissioners this week. The sewer capacity will serve a proposed residential community consisting of 59 townhouses and 24,000 square feet of commercial space.

Because the EDU request was approved, Hugh Cropper, attorney for Sea Oaks, said his client would dismiss the lawsuit filed against the county late last year, following the commissioners’ decision to deny a previous EDU request.

“My clients are happy,” Cropper said.

Initially, Cropper submitted a request for 139 EDUs for the property last fall. At the time, he said Sea Oaks planned to develop the property with 135 townhouses and 24,000 square feet of commercial space.

The commissioners denied the request, however, citing the fact that in 2016 the property owner had transferred EDUs away from the property, claiming it was environmentally sensitive.

Cropper appealed the commissioners’ denial of the EDU request in Worcester County Circuit Court. He agreed this week to dismiss the case, however, once the commissioners approved the request for 63 EDUs, which will allow the initial phase of the Sea Oaks project to proceed.

The commissioners voted 5-2, with Commissioners Chip Bertino and Ted Elder opposed, to approve the request. Bertino said he didn’t object to allocating the EDUs but felt the proper process wasn’t being followed. He pointed out that the conditions of EDU approval included adjusting the county’s water and sewer plan to include the subject property in a different sewer service classification. There are several steps in that amendment process.

“I feel we’re making an exception, granting approval of EDUs prior to going through the process,” he said.

Bertino believes that by approving the EDU allocation this week, the commissioners have diminished the impact of the amendment process.

“It prejudices the rest of the process,” he said.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

Alternative Text

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.