Ocean City Today

Sectional rezoning request denied

No motion during meeting means five applications would continue individually
By Brian Gilliland | Mar 22, 2018

(March 23, 2018) While not making any determination on the validity of the applicants’ individual claims, the Worcester County Commissioners denied rezoning an entire section of land across from the Ocean Downs Casino from E-1 Estate to either C-2 Commercial or C-1 Neighborhood Commercial.

Previously, the applicants sought a residential zoning classification. No explanation for the change was offered.

The section of land encompassed five current applications for rezoning, and 10 other property owners in the same area but had not asked for the zoning of their land to be reconsidered.

Formally, the commissioners denied, by not making a motion, the county’s planning commission the authority to consider rezoning this section of land as a whole.

Worcester County Development Review and Permitting Director Ed Tudor said the area was a small pocket of E-1 Estate zoned land on the westerly side of Racetrack Road, south of Gum Point Road and north of Gray’s Corner Road.

This section was previously considered for rezoning during 2009’s comprehensive rezoning, as part of the comprehensive plan review, but was not changed for a variety of reasons, Tudor said.

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

The county is set to begin a new comprehensive plan and comprehensive rezoning review sometime this year, ten years after the last effort.

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.”

Also 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.”

No hearings were set for the applicants’ requests.

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