Ocean City Today

West OC could get cottage rentals

Zoning change approved by Commissioners; would not be allowed Nov. to January
By Brian Gilliland | Apr 26, 2018

(April 27, 2018) There’s nary a beach community without small cottages available to rent, and if things keep progressing the way they have been going, West Ocean City won’t be too long without one either.

The county commissioners approved a measure to allow for what they call Seasonal Resort Developments, which require a lot area of no less than five acres in size to accommodate the units. The new law takes the additional step of writing in the code that this size could not be reduced by the Board of Zoning Appeals.

It allows cottages, cottages or similar structures built on permanent foundations or attached to a chassis, built for transient use with complete sanitary and kitchen facilities that does not exceed a gross floor area of 600 square feet. A deck or porch area with a cumulative maximum of 200 square feet is also allowed.

Noncommercial recreation and social areas are also permitted, along with facilities similar in scope. Offices and maintenance facilities used only to support the cottage community are also allowed.

As the cottages are expected to be seasonal and not anyone’s primary residence, they will not be allowed to operate during January, February, November and December, and the utilities must be shut off during those months.

County Commissioner Chip Bertino asked how the county would determine the units aren’t in use, and Development Review and Permitting Director Ed Tudor said it’s within the scope of services his department already provides.

Each cottage will have two parking spaces assigned to it. The issue of boat trailers was left unresolved.

These cottages are only allowed in the R-4 Residential zoning heading, because of the density and diversity of accommodations allowed. Tudor said there wasn’t much land zoned R-4 Residential in the county, with the primary hotspots in West Ocean City and in Pocomoke City.

The zoning change was made on the petition of Mark Odachowski, who owns property along Route 50 and intends to build the cottages there.

“I wanted to do something quaint and nice,” he said. “I want to start building slow, during the off-season to help keep Worcester County workers busy.”

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