OC Completes Midtown Property Swap

OCEAN CITY — The last piece of the puzzle for a future water treatment plant at 67th Street fell into place this week when resort officials approved a property swap.

For three years, the town of Ocean City has been acquiring property on the bayside between 66th and 67th streets for the development of a future water treatment plant. The town first acquired the old Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) property on 66th Street. Next came the acquisition of the World Gym property on 67th Street.

The next piece of the puzzle was the Sandpiper Energy tank site at 67th Street. The final piece of the puzzle was a parcel owned by the Wenzlaff family and Advanced Marina. The marina occupies the waterfront between 66th and 67th streets and the company also owned parcels for boat and trailer storage in the same area.

In what appears to be a win-win for all parties, Public Works Director Hal Adkins worked with Advanced Marina on a land swap that will allow the town to piece all the properties together for the future water treatment plant unobstructed, while Advanced Marina consolidates its bayfront marina operation contiguously with the boatyard, for example.

“This journey began in the fall of 2017 with discussions with the Wenzlaff family,” said Adkins on. “The last piece of the puzzle was this marina property and swapping these lots essentially completes the land acquisition needed for the treatment plant.”

Negotiating the property transfer with Advanced Marina was just the beginning of what was a long process. There was a zoning change necessary to accommodate the change in use of the swapped property. During Monday’s Mayor and Council meeting, there was a public hearing on two elements of the arrangement. One element was the property exchange itself, while the other considered the closure of unused, essentially “paper” alleys that bisected the property intended for future treatment plant site. After the brief, virtual public hearing, the council approved both elements in ordinance form on first reading.

The housekeeping measures pave the way for the development of the town’s new midtown water treatment plant. The existing water treatment plant at 44th Street has been in service for over six decades and has outlived its useful life. To that end, the town has been piece-meal purchasing parcels in the area of 67th Street for the purpose of planning and ultimately building a new water treatment plant.

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.