Local government’s idea of helping to repopulate the single-family housing sector in Ocean City via a rebate of some sort for new home construction is not a terrible idea, but it does fail to acknowledge that home-building costs in the resort are not the only reason for its stagnant population.
Other factors are involved, most notably the desire to live in quieter areas and controlled neighborhoods beyond the commercial bustle that, somewhat ironically, continues to provide many former residents with a good living.
After being immersed in the summer throngs day in and day out, some owners and employees just want to experience a quiet night at home, and that’s become increasingly difficult to do here during the season.
Obviously, getting more house for less money on the mainland is a powerful inducement to relocate, as are the gated entrances, reduced noise and traffic, and knowing who the neighbors are regardless of the time of year.
Absent one or two gated developments in town, Ocean City used to have those things, but over time the resort has developed into more of a product than a community.
That’s not necessarily bad or wrong, that’s just the way it is, and the thousands of residents — owners and managers — included, who continue to enjoy living here have obviously accepted that.
The fact is, Ocean City, like northern Worcester County overall, can’t compete with Sussex County, Delaware when it comes to tax breaks. It also can’t turn loud events into quiet ones, when businesses depend on them for income.
Aside from coming up with unheard of benefits of some kind for residents, city officials, like most of their constituents, might as well accept that Ocean City is what it is, as opposed to what it used to be.