Commission Member Issues Apology To Mayor, Council

Commission Member Issues Apology To Mayor, Council
Photo by Chris Parypa

OCEAN CITY – An Ocean City Planning Commission member has issued a public apology for comments made against the Mayor and Council.

During Tuesday’s meeting of the Ocean City Planning and Zoning Commission, commission member Palmer Gillis shared a public apology for remarks he made against the Mayor and Council at a November meeting. His comments centered around the council’s decision to return proposed code amendments on off-street parking to the planning commission for revision.

“I would like to offer a public apology for the hasty statement that I made suggesting the council is in the pockets of the builders and developers and the real estate agents,” he said. “I also extend that to my fellow commission members.”

In October, the planning commission agreed to forward a new code amendment on off-street garage parking to the Mayor and Council with a favorable recommendation. As proposed, the amendment would change the dimensions of enclosed parking spaces on lots greater than 50 feet wide, require a five-foot driveway apron, and change off-street parking regulations for multifamily dwellings.

In early November, however, the Ocean City Council voted to send the recommended changes back to the commission, citing that the commission’s version of the code amendment did not align with what was discussed in last year’s joint meeting between the commission and the Mayor and Council.

At the following commission meeting on Nov. 21, Gillis shared his frustrations with the Mayor and Council, noting it was the second such recommendation on off-street parking to be sent back. He argued the planning commission was wasting its time and alleged the council was “in the pocket of the builders, and developers and real estate agents.”

In a letter to the editor sent to The Dispatch Monday, Council President Matt James requested Gillis issue a public apology for his statements.

“With this lack of discipline, and professionalism, and Mr. Gillis’ loose talk, he has undermined the integrity of the Planning Commission and has soured the relationship with the City Council,” James wrote. “Mr. Gillis making these baseless claims about members of the Council when they disagree or don’t accept a recommendation is unacceptable. Mr. Gillis owes each member of the City Council an apology, and I plan to address this topic further at our next public meeting.”

During his comments Tuesday, Gillis acknowledged James’ request and issued a public apology.

“I would like to withdraw my statement,” he said. “For the record, it was wrong for me to have suggested that.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.