Public Hearing On Amendment Set For Fenwick

FENWICK ISLAND – Members of the public will have a chance to weigh in on an ordinance amendment that sets the allowable height for elevator shafts on the roofs of commercial buildings.

On May 3, the town of Fenwick Island will hold a public hearing on an ordinance amendment that would allow an elevator shaft to extend 4.5 feet in height above the principal maximum building height in the commercial zone.

The Fenwick Island Charter and Ordinance Committee was initially tasked with reviewing the town’s commercial height regulations after the Fenwick Island Board of Adjustment – a group of five property owners who hear appeals covering the interpretation or administration of the town’s zoning code – gave the developer of the Sands Motel a variance that would allow the building’s elevator shaft to exceed the town’s height limit.

And in January, the town council voted to approve the first reading of an ordinance amendment that would allow elevator shafts on any commercial building to extend beyond the height by no more than 4.5 feet.

Last month, however, the committee agreed to reexamine the ordinance amendment after realizing the wording would have unintended consequences for owners with roof height well below the height limit.

“If they want to put a deck on top, with an elevator going to that deck, they should be able to do that,” Town Manager Terry Tieman said at the time.

At a meeting of the charter and ordinance committee last Friday, committee chair Bill Weistling said the ordinance amendment had since been reviewed by the town solicitor.

“We sent this to our town attorney,” he said. “This is the wording she came up with, ‘4.5 feet in height above the principal maximum building height permitted by the zoning regulations.’”

Weistling said the language clarifies the town’s position on the height of elevator shafts in the commercial zone.

“If the principal height of the building is 30 feet, they are allowed 34.5 feet,” he said. “If the height is 32 feet, they are allowed 4.5 feet [above]. It was difficult to get the proper language for it, but I think this covers it clearly.”

After the public hearing next month, the ordinance amendment will go before the town council for a second reading.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.