Planners Endorse West Ocean City Rezoning Request

SNOW HILL – A West Ocean City rezoning request is moving forward with a favorable recommendation from the Worcester County Planning Commission.

The planning commission last Thursday agreed to forward a request to rezone about three acres on Route 611 to the Worcester County Commissioners with a favorable recommendation.

“I know the developer,” Commission member Ken Church said. “He will do a good job on it.”

Attorney Hugh Cropper approached the planning commission last week seeking a rezoning of 3.29 acres on the east side of Route 611. The property, which is currently zoned C-2 general commercial, is vacant but has been used in the past for material storage associated with construction of the Route 50 shared use path.

Cropper said his client wanted to rezone the property from C-2 to R-4, general residential district.

“We feel like this is in conformance with the intent and more desirable in terms of the comprehensive plan,” he said.

Cropper said they were seeking the rezoning as a result of a change in the character of the neighborhood. Cropper noted that the property was near several residential subdivisions.

“It abuts Mystic Harbour, which is an R-4 development,” he said. “It’d essentially be an extension of that.”

When asked about the number of units that would be built, Steve Engel of Vista Design said 20 units were proposed for the first phase.

“That’s as far as we’ve got,” he said.

Planning Commission member Phyllis Wimbrow said she disagreed with Cropper’s definition of the neighborhood, which she felt was too one-sided.

“Route 611 is the thing that draws that neighborhood together,” she said, adding that she felt Cropper’s proposed neighborhood wasn’t wide enough but went too far south.

Cropper said the comprehensive plan referred to the neighborhood as the area within a five-to-10-minute drive.

Wimbrow said that despite her disagreement with the definition of the neighborhood she didn’t object to the rezoning. She said the availability of public sewer had been a major change to the area.

“There have also been other rezonings in the area,” she said. “There’s been a lot of rezoning that took residential and changed it over to commercial in the harbor area that possibly could be used to argue there is a need for additional residential.”

The commission agreed to give the proposed rezoning a favorable recommendation as it was forwarded to the county commissioners for review.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

Alternative Text

Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.