Ocean City Today

Private softball complex granted exception

Scaled-back version from application approved after neighbor complaints heard
By Brian Gilliland | May 18, 2017
The highlighted portion is the location of the proposed softball complex

(May 19, 2017) The dozen or so neighbors to a proposed training facility for a girls’ softball travel team had no problem with the organization, the idea or the intentions behind it, but they did take issue with the project’s design, the possibility of increased traffic and what they say is a lack of communication by the organizers.

The facility is proposed for a parcel of land close to the Route 113 and Route 90 junction south of Showell and west of Ocean Pines. The founder of the softball club and contract holder on the land, Shawn Eisemann, said he wanted to build a place for the team to practice that would be their own, and not have to deal with the hassle or travel time associated with moving between fields.

Eisemann said because his contract was set to expire, and the deadlines had passed for the next meeting of the Board of Zoning Appeals, he needed a ruling rather than having to continue the conversation during the session last Thursday evening.

Which happened anyway. Neighbors, residents and Eisemann himself addressed the board for a couple of hours detailing what the facility was going to be, what it was intended for and how it would be put to use.

Eisemann provided a drawing of the proposal, which was the first time any of the residents said they had seen any sort of rendering, and what they saw left them horrified: four softball fields outfitted with a total of 28 lights for nighttime play, bleachers, concession stands, dugouts, batting cages and support buildings for storage.

Eisemann said the drawing represented the best-case scenario, which included all the things he wanted instead of what he needed to get underway.

The eventual goal, Eisemann said, was to host tournaments at the site, but he didn’t think it would be happening any time soon.

The board factored that into its ruling, when it decided it would allow Eisemann’s idea to proceed, but on the condition that no tournaments would take place there, only one field would be built and it could not be illuminated, the organization would be prohibited from playing on Sundays and the entrance would be gated.

The board left open the option to construct support buildings on the property. Eisemann may reapply to change the exception he was granted one year from now.

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