SNOW HILL – County officials conceptually approved a lease agreement that will allow a sailboat to dock at the West Ocean City Harbor.
The Worcester County Commissioners this week approved a resolution that allowed them to designate a portion of the harbor for county joint ventures. They followed that up with conceptual approval of a lease agreement with the connections of the sailboat Alyosha. The public will, however, have the opportunity to comment on the proposed lease Oct. 1.
Worcester County Recreation and Parks presented the commissioners with a resolution that would allow space between the Governor’s Dock and the boat ramp that is not in use at the West Ocean City Harbor to be leased.
The space, which is directly in front of the public restrooms, doesn’t qualify as commercial or recreational under the code. In order to potentially lease the space, the commissioners were asked to approve a resolution designating that section for county use or for county joint ventures.
The commissioners voted 5-2, with Commissioners Jim Bunting and Chip Bertino opposed, to approve the resolution.
“I’ve been opposed to this from the beginning,” Bunting said. “I think we’re taking away something that belongs to the public, an area that’s very important to them. We’ve done the best we can to keep commercial uses out of our recreational boat ramps. I just think it’s the wrong use.”
After approving the resolution, the commissioners voted 5-2, again with Bunting and Bertino opposed, to give conceptual approval to a five-year lease agreement with Thrive Engineering LLC (Stephen Butz). The lease will allow Butz to dock the Alyosha, a 50-foot catamaran, at the harbor. Butz, who spent years sailing the boat around the world — traveling 35,000 nautical miles in the process — hopes to share his passion for sailing with others through his charter business, Sail Alyosha.
The lease the commissioners conceptually approved this week runs from Oct. 1, 2019 through Sept. 30, 2024. It includes a minimum annual rental fee of $8,500 plus advertising fees. It also gives the county exclusive rights to sell advertising on the indicated sails.
Citizens have an opportunity to comment on the lease agreement before it is formally approved at the commissioners’ Oct. 1 meeting.