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Worcester Commissioners accept farm-based project proposal in W. Ocean City 

(Feb. 1, 2019) A request for six equivalent dwelling units to serve a proposed farm brewery operation in West Ocean City was unanimously approved during a Worcester County Commissioners meeting last Tuesday.

Applicant Paul Carlotta, of Assateague Island Farm, LLC., requested the EDUs from the Mystic Harbour Sanitary Service Area. The EDU’s would service an existing roadside stand and proposed farm brewery, according to the proposal.

The roughly 17-acre property is on the east side of Stephen Decatur Highway, about 1.3 miles south of the Ocean City Airport. The proposed brewery would take up 6,450 square feet. There would also be an onsite restaurant.

The property is currently zoned as A-2 Agricultural District, and is designated S-3 in the County Water and Sewage Plan, according to the proposal. Because of the proximity of the airport, it also is within the “‘Area 2- Airport and South of the Airport, East of Route 611’ in the Mystic Harbour SSA.”

Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Kelly Shannahan stressed the importance of keeping the brewery waste from the Mystic Harbour area because “brewery waste has been reported to be 30-to-50 times the strength of domestic waste.”

Commissioner Jim Bunting expressed his concerns with several conditions in the proposal including the engineering report and receiving an exemption from the Maryland Department of the Environment. However, Bunting acknowledged that he wouldn’t “want to jeopardize the county” if any byproducts were to be introduced into the sewer system.

Commissioner Bud Church agreed.

“I think that Commissioner Bunting brought up some legitimate concerns,” Church said. “I have to think that this is a little bit overburdensome.”

The proposal came with three options for the commissioners’ to choose: approving the request for the EDU allocation, partially approving the request or rejecting the request.

Commissioner Joshua Nordstrom said the “exist[ing] uncertainty” in option three was unsettling.

“I can tell you that are concerns are that we want to be sure with no uncertain terms that that brewery waste is never introduced into our system, and jeopardize the system for thousands of customers in the Mystic Harbour system,” Shannahan said.

Commissioner Joseph Mitrecic spoke to the past regulatory hurdles of constructing a brewery in his district of Ocean City. He stressed the importance of disposing of the brewery waste correctly.

He expressed his support for Carlotta’s venture.

“I do, I support the EDU allocation for this business,” Mitrecic said. “I think that it’s a good idea, I just want to make sure again we don’t jeopardize our system or the town of Ocean City’s Golf course.”

Worcester County Commissioners’ President Diana Purnell advised as the applicant is a small business, the proposed conditions put in place are there for his benefit at the protection of his investment. 

“Do it right the first time and you don’t have things coming back on you,” she said.

Bunting made a motion to approve option one, with an amendment to the final condition. As agreed, the applicant would have a Dec. 31, 2020 deadline. Mitrecic seconded the motion.

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