Yesterday evening at the City Council meeting Mr. Demarco accomplished in 10 minutes what I have been trying to get done with consecutive councils for 10 years.
He talked about the huge differences in costs, due solely to excessive Ocean City regulations, mostly from the fire marshal, to build or buy a single-wide or double-wide home in Ocean City compared to Sussex County, a few miles up the road.
Due to local sprinkler requirements and other building requirements in Ocean City, the costs of a double-wide could increase from $110,000 outside of Ocean City to $150,000 in Ocean City. A $40,000 or 36 percent increase in cost. This is equal to an additional tax.
Although these regulations have nothing to do with the property tax in Delaware, which is also vastly lower. The excessive rules our Ocean City regulators impose on our builders and subsequently on the families that own homes, whether second homes or primary residents, have made us uncompetitive with the neighborhoods that surround us. This fact is well known among builders.
Congratulations Mr. Demarco! For a decade, back to Jim Hall, I have written on and talked with council members trying to persuade them to “sunset” many of the code rules that are local and greatly increase the costs of construction.
Many of which have been written by local regulators, mostly fire marshals, and are unique to Ocean City.
These excessive building costs are not viewed as safety enhancements outside of Ocean City and by increasing the costs to live here, they serve as an additional tax on residents and businesses which helps to explain much of the outflow of residents and second home owners from Ocean City.
Kudos to Mr. Demarco! His dramatic presentation will give me energy to propose yet again that we sunset at least all local fire marshal codes that are different and more restrictive than those in Worcester County if not Sussex itself.
Eliminating excessive code requirements should be the biggest priority the council has this year! This action will be the most revitalizing change the Town of Ocean City can do. It will not only stimulate growth, but it will keep residents and second home owners from selling and leaving Ocean City.