OCEAN CITY – Planning officials approved minor changes to plans to replace the liquor store in front of Seacrets.
The Ocean City Planning Commission on Tuesday unanimously approved minor revisions to the site plan for the Atlantic Beverage Center. The changes came after property owner Leighton Moore removed the employee housing proposed for the third floor to replace it with storage space.
“What they do up there can drastically affect my license,” Moore said. “If they are doing something that is illegal up there it’s in my licensed building. I just can’t have the two associated.”
On Nov. 9, the commission approved Moore’s plans to replace the existing liquor store with a three-story building that would include retail space on the first floor, storage on the second and employee housing on the third.
Moore returned to the commission this week because he’s abandoned the plan to include employee housing.
“I have trepidations about employee housing on a licensed premise,” he said.
He said that with the altered plan, he would have retail on the first floor, related storage on the second floor and storage for Seacrets on the third floor.
“I would not have been as enthusiastic about the project being three stories the first time around had it not been that it was employee housing on the third floor,” commission member Lauren Taylor said, “because its a very large building for that area.”
She said the existing store was “kind of funky and cute.”
“Now in our family friendly town we have a major three-story liquor store,” she said. “I find it troubling that a week ago that was a good idea and a week later it’s not and now staff has to do the whole thing all over again.”
Moore, who pointed out there were several five story buildings across the street, said the employee housing posed a potential nightmare.
“If you can imagine what I’m saying without me having to be specific, I can’t control the illicit activities of employees,” he said, adding that he didn’t want to jeopardize his liquor license or his distilling license.
Commission members praised the appearance of the building, which Moore described as art deco. They asked him to be cognizant of the intensity of the building’s lighting, as that was a concern throughout the resort.
The commission voted unanimously to approve the site plan revision.