(Oct. 9, 2020) With Monday’s Ocean City Council vote, an ordinance amending zoning codes specific to the downtown mixed use and downtown design overlay zone districts is now official.

“The Ocean City Development Corporation continues to fine-tune these standards periodically to make for a better working zoning code,” corporation Executive Director Glenn Irwin said. 

The corporation introduced the amendments to the Ocean City Planning and Zoning Commission in February.

Former OCDC President Blaine Smith, who also had been the long-time zoning administrator for Ocean City, along with Planning, Community Development Director Bill Neville and Irwin explained what were originally four amendments the corporation sought. 

First was what Smith called a curative amendment, which would reestablish building height specifications left out during a previous code revision. 

“The zoning ordinance was revised on Nov. 18, 2002 to adopt the downtown mixed use (DMX) zoning district,” Neville said. “This seems to be the point in time that the required building height for the southern half of the DMX district was unintentionally left out.” 

The amendment will fix that error, and make building height requirements 40 feet or no more than four stories high once more. 

The second amendment would allow property owners to use an additional 25 percent of upper floor space for on-site employee housing. 

Before Monday night, the code had only allowed for 50 percent usage. 

“We believe if the space meets all of the safety regulations … it can be utilized for employee housing,” Smith told the commission in February. 

The third amendment would provide a full set of sign regulations that apply in the downtown area, as well as additional criteria to address signs that wrap around Boardwalk storefronts and wrap around the corner facing a side street. 

The final amendment involving Boardwalk A-frame signs was scrapped.

Josh covers everything Ocean City government and crime. He graduated from the University of Richmond in 2019 with a B.A. in French and Journalism.

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