City Extends Inlet Operation’s Conditional Use

OCEAN CITY — In what was essentially a mere formality, resort planners this week approved a conditional use extension for a parasail boat and personal watercraft operation near the Inlet.

The existing operation, which includes one parasail boat and up to 12 personal watercraft, has been run by the same family at the same location for 24 years. The family is selling the business, Inlet Seadoos, to a young captain who has worked for them in recent years and is seeking to continue the operation just as it has been run for over two decades.

However, because of the ownership change, the Ocean City Planning Commission was required to review and approve the conditional use request for water-related recreational activities in the I-1 Inlet zoning district. The commission held a public hearing on Wednesday and, satisfied the requisite safety measures would continue to be met, approved the conditional use for the new owner.

Zoning Administrator Kay Gordy outlined the various staff conditions on the request including safety measures, adequate parking and public facilities and other variables. She said the location is one of the best in the resort for personal watercraft rentals because of the relatively sheltered cove.

“That cove makes this one of the better locations for this,” she said. “It allows customers to practice and get accustomed to the watercraft a little before getting into open water and the Inlet.”

The new owner, Tyler Anthony, told the commission he has worked for the family and intends to maintain business as usual at the operation.

“I’ve worked in the industry for six years including five as a captain,” he said. “I’m going to run a safe, smooth operation that allows visitors to enjoy water-related activities in a controlled environment. The Andrews family has been doing this in the same location for over 20 years and this will be a continuation of that.”

Planning Commissioner Chris Shanahan told Anthony, “This is an established business and you seem to know what you’re doing. This exercise is just for us to get reassurances everything will be done as it has in the past with all of the safety precautions in place. I’m pretty confident with the testimony I’ve heard. I’m also comfortable with the five-year term.”

Commissioner Lauren Taylor said the Andrews family would not turn over the decades-old business to just anyone.

“We know that this business is their baby,” she said. “They wouldn’t put in someone else’s hands if they weren’t comfortable with it.”

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.