City Hall-Aug.-file

After years of working parallel with little to no direct communication, members of the Ocean City Council and the Ocean City Planning Commission are finally getting into one room to hash out their differences.

Next Tuesday’s council work session, set for 1 p.m., will be a joint meeting between the two bodies that according to some, is long overdue.

Planning Commissioner Palmer Gillis said he and several of his colleagues have been asking to meet face-to-face with the council for years but nothing was ever scheduled. Now, with several hot topics that fall into both bodies’ purviews coming up for discussions and decisions, a meeting was finally set.

One topic that will undoubtedly come up is the role of commissioners and council members in approving code amendments.

At a meeting several weeks ago, council members opted to rapidly shut down two proposed code amendments that planning commissioners spent many hours discussing and debating.

The move was made quickly, without any discussion. Several of the council members chastised the planning commissioners for tackling the amendments without consulting them to determine if there was interest in passing them. Council members said they expected to discuss the proposed amendments, along with several others, at the joint meeting.

At a following planning commission meeting, Gillis and Commission Chairwoman Pam Buckley balked at the council’s rejection of the amendments and expressed a desire to know what the elected body expects of them.

Other topics on the agenda include housing, pyramidal zoning and parking. A welcome section is also included, which consists of introducing new commissioners and reviewing the commission’s roles and responsibilities commission.

The meeting is in City Hall and set for three hours. Officials have also said it could be the first of multiple meetings.

This story appears in the Sept. 23, 2022 print edition of the OC Today.

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