Planners Approve Another Uptown Escape Room

OCEAN CITY- Continuing a recent trend, resort planners this week approved a conditional use permit to allow for the creation of a family-friendly escape room in a north-end shopping center.

The Planning Commission had before them on Tuesday a request for a conditional use for a new escape room in an existing uptown shopping center between 131st Street and 132nd Street. Zoning Administrator Kay Gordy explained the concept of the proposed north-end escape room.

“Players are inside a themed room and must complete their mission before time runs out,” she said. “During the 45 to 60-minute experience, players are immersed into a real-life adventure where they must find hidden clues, crack codes, solve challenging puzzles and escape.”

Gordy said the proposed application met all of the zoning requirements and there was ample parking at the shopping center. The applicant, Linar Yagudin, has at least three other escape room locations in Ocean City and Gordy explained he has run successful businesses.

“Mr. Yagudin has been with us before,” she said. “He’s really well-versed in running this type of business.”

Gordy said the escape rooms appeal to families and other groups of people with a safe, interactive activity.

“The experiences are private, family-friendly and kid-friendly and players are never locked in a room, so any player can leave the room during any game,” she said. “They go from room to room to solve their theme.”

Planning Commission Chair Pam Buckley asked Yagudin if his other sites have been successful.

“Have you found this to be well-attended and a nice option for our tourists and visitors?”

Yagudin said he has had success with his other escape room locations and had high hopes for the proposed new location.

“I believe so,” he said. “It’s a nice option for people uptown. There are a lot of people uptown and they are always looking for something new and fun to do.”

Buckley said the comprehensive plan calls for alternative, family-friendly activities and the escape room met the criteria.

“Our comprehensive plan does ask for this type of establishment in town to maintain activities for our tourists and guests that come to Ocean City,” he said. “Having completed one of these at one point, it is quite interesting I must admit. It can be a rainy day or kind of gloomy day type of activity. It something different to do for a family.”

Planning Commissioner Lauren Taylor agreed and made a motion to approve the conditional use, a motion that passed unanimously.

“I think it’s a great addition for that part of town and that shopping center,” she said.

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.