North OC Hotel Improvements Approved By Planning Commission

OCEAN CITY — Renovations at the decades-old Fenwick Inn are moving forward after resort planners this week approved a site plan for an expansion of the pool area and the addition of a fitness center.

The Ocean City Planning Commission conducted a site plan review Tuesday for an expansion of some of the accessory uses at the Fenwick Inn, which has existed on the site at 139th Street since 1975. The plans call for a 1,000-square-foot expansion of the existing swimming pool facility attached to the rear of the building and a 363-square-foot addition of a fitness center, both of which are considered accessory uses of the existing hotel.

The expansion of the pool facility and the addition of the fitness center are just part of the major renovations going on at the Fenwick Inn. Zoning Administrator Kay Gordy explained the owners – the hotel was purchased by The Carousel Group in 2019 — currently have applied for a building permit for extensive interior renovations, including eliminating the rooftop restaurant that has existed for years. She said the site plan for the pool and fitness center additions were being handled separately.

“This is a pretty minor addition to the Fenwick Inn property,” she said. “This portion is being broken out so they can move forward with the other interior renovations. It’s pretty straightforward and the staff is recommending site plan approval with any conditions you see fit.”

The pool and fitness center additions will result in the loss of four parking spaces, but the property already has parking in excess of what is required by the code. The code requires 226 spaces for the entire property, but the Fenwick Inn is providing 234. That is largely due to the conversion of the former restaurant to housing, which is a less intense use.

“The restaurant is going away and some of that space will be converted to rooms,” said project architect Heather Morrison. “That’s the plan. There will still be gathering space, but there won’t be a full-service restaurant.

Gordy explained the rooftop restaurant that existed in various incarnations over the years is being removed, but there will be meeting space and banquet facilities.

“They don’t have a kitchen, but they could have something catered,” she said. “It’s basically a banquet hall.”

With little discussion, the planning commission approved the site plan for the pool and fitness center addition with a 5-0 vote with commissioners Palmer Gillis and Peck Miller absent.

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.