94th Street lot.jpeg

The spacious Ocean Plaza Mall parking lot on 94th Street will have more activity this fall after members of the Board of Zoning Appeals approved requests to set up vendor tents associated with Delmarva Bike Week, OC Jeep Week and Endless Summer Cruisin’.

Bike, Jeep and Cruisin' merchandise to be sold on 94th

The organizer behind the array of vendor tents annually set up for Delmarva Bike Week at the Ocean Plaza Mall will create similar scenes during two more resort events this year.

For most of the year, the 94th Street lot sits mostly empty, with only a Roses department store, ACME grocery store and other small establishments serving as the bleak reminders of what was once a full-fledged indoor shopping center.

But for years during Bike Week, which coincides with OC Bike Fest set this year for Sept. 14-18, the lot is filled with vendor tents and other event-related elements.

Gary Nowicki, a managing member of V-Twin LLC, has worked with Bike Week organizers to set up the tents annually. And this year, he wants to do the same thing for OC Jeep Week, set Aug. 25-28, and Endless Summer Cruisin’ on Oct. 6-9.

At a Board of Zoning Appeals meeting last week, members voted to renew Nowicki’s special use exception to set up the tents for Bike Week for the next three years.

And after ironing out some details, like ensuring that Nowicki touches base with event organizers, board members issued similar one-year approvals for the jeep and classic car weeks.

Nowicki said he plans to host vendor tents in the front portion of the lot and set up an “entertainment” area further back to possibly one day serve food, drinks and more.

Nowicki said he sees the spot filling up for Bike Week, as he is used to booking for the event, but expects a slower launch for the other two.

“I’ve been in the motorcycle industry a long time and I know a lot of people,” he said during the meeting. “But when it comes to Jeeps and the classic cars, I’m learning.”

Board members voiced full support for all of the Bike Week offerings, but had some questions about Jeep Week and Cruisin’.

When board member Brian Shane asked Nowicki whether he has been in contact with the promoters of the other events, Nowicki said he has reached out but has not heard back for the most part. He said most of the details and accompanying partnerships are already in place for this year and he hopes to work more closely with the promoters in the future. For now, though, he expects to keep the setup at 94th Street small for Jeep Week and Cruisin’.

Shane and board member Dean Langrall had some reservations, though.

“It bothers me somewhat that that you haven’t gotten in contact with them,” Langrall said of the other promoters. “ … I just have a queasiness about the relationship and how all this meshes.”

Pete Cosby, a local attorney representing Nowicki, suggested approving the agreements with the jeep and car events for one year instead of three, and including a caveat that Nowicki contact the promoters, to give the board members ease.

They agreed, and voted to allow Nowicki to advance plans to set up the vendor tents this year if he promises to touch base with the promoters on the details and work with them later. After this year, they said they will take another look at renewing the contract for longer.

It was also pointed out that a future agreement may include correspondence with Ocean City Special Events Director Frank Miller, particularly if the designated entertainment area becomes more elaborate.

This story appears in the Aug. 5, 2022 print edition of the OC Today.

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