(Jan. 8, 2021) The Ocean City Planning and Zoning Commission approved a site plan this week for a project that would convert the former Coldwell Banker building near 120th Street into a nearly 6,000-square-foot retail store with dormitory style employee housing.
Project applicants Avi and & Terry Sibony, principals for A&T Retail, proposed an adaptive reuse of the existing commercial structure to include a 5,950-square-foot store, with onsite housing for 28 employees.
Zoning Administrator Kay Gordy, who said roughly 102 parking spaces would be required for the project, noted the proposed plan includes a total of 162 spots.
Commission member Peck Miller, who lauded the inclusion of parking beyond the minimum required, said the location has been problematic at time for neighbors.
“In the past, that parking lot behind the Coldwell Banker building has been somewhat of a nuisance for many years to a lot of people,” he said.
Miller said the redevelopment could make the area easier to monitor and have a positive effect on adjacent properties.
A letter contesting the Sibony’s request was sent to the commission by the Swarthmore Homeowners Association, which represents roughly 150 residents and 60 homes in the vicinity.
Among other concerns, the letter cites the potential need for police presence in the area due to increased behavior problems.
To quell those concerns, Avi Sibony noted a three-bedroom unit on the third floor would be reserved for a property manager charged with oversight of employee housing rooms.
“Somebody that would be in charge and watch all those kids underneath,” he said.
Commission member Pam Buckley said that consideration would likely be welcome news for neighbors.
“One of the things that might help the Swarthmore people is to know there’s an onsite person,” she said.
Commission member Palmer Gillis asked about flooding issues tied to a small basement section in the building.
Sibony, who only became aware of the subterranean section after purchasing the property, noted twin sum p pumps are employed to minimize moisture.
Sibony agreed to a condition suggested by Gillis to deem the basement section as uninhabitable.
The commission voted unanimously to approve the site plan.