Ocean City Today

Commissioners eliminate  E-1 zoning along Route 611

Four parcels now R-1, as county officials continue phasing out classification
By Brian Gilliland | Nov 09, 2017

(Nov. 10, 2017) When four applications for the same rezoning were made from roughly the same area on the westbound side of Route 611, the Worcester County Commissioners decided to tackle them all at once, leading to four separate public hearings during Tuesday’s meeting in Snow Hill.

Each property owner sought a zoning reclassification from E-1 Estate to R-1 Residential on the basis that the zoning was a mistake, and R-1 zoning more readily suits the area.

E-1 Estate district itself has come under fire for not achieving its intended goals. According to county code, the intent of E-1 Estate was developed to “protect and preserve the open character of the rural areas and environmentally sensitive areas of the county and to enhance the estate character of the neighborhoods.”

According to county code, no new properties are to be included in the E-1 Estate district by comprehensive rezoning or application, and the designation “shall be eliminated subsequent to the next state-mandated review of the comprehensive plan.”

So, the E-1 Estate zoning is going away anyway, and lands currently zoned as such will need to be reclassified eventually.

According to code, R-1 Residential is intended to protect and preserve the low-density rural residential areas of the county that are not generally planned for substantial population growth and for which limited public services are available or planned.

The four parcels covered in the hearings cover about 28 acres and are located along the westerly side of Route 611. The largest parcel, at 20.1 acres along Brandywine Road, is owned by Dean and Joan Jenkins. The next-largest lot at 5.1 acres is located in the same area and is owned by Raymond and Jean Shanley.

The two remaining lots are both less than an acre and a half, and are located just north of the other lots along Raccoon Lane with one owned by Don and Deborah Bounds and the other by William Waterman.

All four rezoning requests were granted without objection, and the commissioners took the additional step of starting the process to eliminate all of the remaining E-1 Estate districts in the same area.

Ed Tudor, director of development review and planning, said this would be accomplished by a “sectional” zoning reclassification. The commissioners voted unanimously to start the process to rezone the area, which will need to go back before the county’s planning commission before it returns to the commissioners for a public hearing and approval, Tudor said.

The process isn’t likely to be complete before next year, Tudor said.

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