Ocean City Today

In any economy, Ocean City area continues to build

By Brian Gilliland | Mar 29, 2018
Photo by: Submitted photo Building permits by area

(March 30, 2018) Through good economic times and bad, construction in the greater Ocean City area may have changed focus, but hasn’t really stopped, as evidenced by building permit statistics maintained by the resort and county planning departments.

In Ocean City during 2017, according to the city’s Planning and Community Development office, 1,876 building permits were issued, slightly down from 2016’s 1,889, which is a loss of 0.7 percent. However, during the previous five years, 2012 to 2016, the resort issued an average of 1,641 permits.

At the same time, however, the value of the construction has increased significantly, with 2017’s total coming in 20 percent higher than the previous year, and just shy of $30 million more than the five-year average.

Last year, the construction in Ocean City was valued at nearly $81 million, while 2016’s total was almost $67.3 million. The five-year average, however, is almost $51.8 million.

The city also provided valuation for electrical and mechanical permits, which are likely related to hotel and motel work, Zoning Analyst Kay Gordy said.

While there is no five-year average for these permits, electrical permits were valued at about $1.03 million in 2017, up from 2016’s approximately $390,500, which is a gain of almost 165 percent, according to Gordy. Mechanical permits increased in value by 23.6 percent, from about $2.83 million in 2016 to almost $3.5 million the following year.

In 2017, only about half of 2016’s total of single-family homes were granted certificates of occupancy, with 26 and 54 respectively, while the condominium units granted a certificate of occupancy also fell from six to four.

However, 53 hotel/motel units were granted a certificate in 2017, while there were zero issued in 2016.

The resort issued certificates to 22 commercial buildings in 2017, up from 2016’s total of 14.

In total, Ocean City issued certificates to 104 units, which is up from the 2012-2016 average of 93.

On the demolition side, 25 residential units and five commercial units were removed from Ocean City in 2017. In 2016, 165 residential units and five commercial units were demolished.

As West Ocean City is unincorporated, it falls under the purview of the county’s Development Review and Permitting Department, which presented its data a little differently than the resort’s information. To narrow the scope somewhat, the county’s information focuses on the Route 50 corridor west of the Harry Kelley bridge to the Berlin Wal-Mart, and to the south down Route 611 to the Ocean City Airport, including the surrounding area.

Worcester County issued 36 commercial permits in 2017, 60 in 2016, 41 in 2013, and for reference, 40 in 2008.

Building permits for single-family homes in this area have steadily increased, from 13 in 2008, to 16 in 2013, to 38 in 2016 until it reached 45 last year.

Multifamily home permits had a huge jump in 2016, with 43 issued, while in 2013 there were only eight and in 2017, just nine.

Ed Tudor, director of the department, cautioned that several properties often have multiple permits issued, especially in the case of multifamily homes, so there may be overlapping data within these numbers.

Not surprisingly, the commercial building permits were mainly issued along the Route 50 corridor during the period in question, while residential development was contained mostly north of the highway.

When looking at the numbers by the years, in 2008 and 2013 almost all the permits issued were along the Route 50 corridor. It’s not until 2016 that Riddle Farm, across from the Berlin Wal-Mart as well as other stores, and the area south of Route 50 across from the White Marlin Mall and Tanger Outlets began to get some attention from builders.

In 2017, construction appears to be spread evenly throughout what is generally regarded as West Ocean City while the Riddle Farm area also saw a large volume of permits issued.

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