Ocean City Today

County to proceed with sectional rezoning

By Brian Gilliland | Apr 05, 2018

(April 6, 2018) Two weeks after letting the issue die on the table by not taking any action on the question of rezoning several properties across from the Ocean Downs Casino on Racetrack Road, the Worcester County Commissioners on Tuesday voted to grant the planning commission the authority to look at rezoning the area whether the landowners petitioned for it or not.

Five property owners with land zoned E-1 Estate approached the county to get their land rezoned to either C-1 or C-2 Commercial. These properties are within a section of land also zoned E-1 Estate.

During its last review of the comprehensive plan in 2009, the county decided it would not add any E-1 Estate zonings to Worcester’s maps, and those that were already zoned E-1 Estate would be changed at the next review a decade later.

As the review approaches, so too does a comprehensive rezoning, where the entire county’s zoning is evaluated and changed according to factors including use, neighborhood character changes and others.

These parcels are due to be rezoned in the next year or so anyway, but with a change in zoning might also include changes in assessment and taxes.

Ed Tudor, director of county development review and permitting, said circumstances in some instances could cost homeowners more in taxes.

For example, should a property owner in the rezoned area keep the use as residential by not opening a business, and wish to add on to the property, it could be considered a non-confirming use and have to go before the Board of Zoning Appeals to approve the addition.

The applicants, Tudor said previously, had no problem proceeding with the sectional rezoning, so long as they retained their rights to individual hearings should the sectional rezoning effort fail.

The property owners not making an application for rezoning but within the area under consideration will also be contacted by the county so that they may participate in the process.

Previously, these owners sought rezoning to a residential heading in 2009.

The commissioners voted to proceed 6-1 with Commissioner Chip Bertino, representing Ocean Pines, against.

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