Authors Posts by Donald Wittkowski

Donald Wittkowski

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21 Homes Approved for Former Car Lot

A large tract of land that Ocean City had hoped to buy and preserve as open space will instead be redeveloped for 21 single-family homes, under the latest plan by the property owners. Voting 6-0, the Ocean City Planning Board gave preliminary site plan approval Wednesday night to the housing project proposed by brothers Harry and Jerry Klause of Klause Enterprises. Encompassing nearly an entire block, the land is bordered by Simpson and Haven avenues between 16th and 17th streets and was formerly occupied by a now-closed Chevrolet dealership.

Old Railroad Embankment Considered as Flood Barrier

Ocean City Fourth Ward Councilman Bob Barr calls it the “large fix.” As the city continues to search for ways to fight flooding, one massive project under consideration would involve transforming an abandoned railroad bed into a barrier to block stormwater rushing in from the bay. “This is the large fix,” Barr told local residents Saturday during a Fourth Ward community meeting held at the Ocean City Free Public Library.

Ocean City Tones Down Boardwalk Performers

Boardwalk performers, listen up: You’ll have to tone it down going forward. Hoping to put a damper on excessively loud singing or music on Ocean City’s signature attraction, City Council approved a new ordinance Thursday night that prohibits Boardwalk entertainers from using amplifiers. City officials said the ordinance strikes a balance between the performers’ constitutional right to free expression and the rights of everyone else to enjoy the family-friendly ambiance on the oceanfront promenade.

New Hotel Coming to Ocean City in 2020

Construction will begin this week on an all-suites boutique hotel that its developers plan to have ready for Ocean City’s 2020 summer tourism season. Called the North Island Inn, the project will be built in a prime location at the corner of 10th Street and Ocean Avenue only a block from the beach and Boardwalk. Christopher Glancey, a Sea Isle City developer who has expanded into Ocean City with his business partner Bob Morris, said the all-suites lodging will cater to families wanting to be close to the beach and Boardwalk shops, eateries and amusement rides during their extended summer vacations.

Ocean City Boardwalk’s Special Allure

The Boardwalk is the center of their universe when Meghan and Adam Hubley bring their children, Ava, 8, Sadie, 6, and Adelina, 3, on trips to Ocean City from their home in Mullica Hill, N.J. “We like to go on the rides, go in the shops, stop at the pizza place and eat some ice cream,” Meghan Hubley explained of the family-friendly allure of the oceanfront promenade. Down for the Easter weekend, the Hubleys were savoring their getaway at the shore Thursday afternoon with a stroll on the Boardwalk at 12th Street. When asked whether her family would visit Ocean City if the Boardwalk did not exist, Meghan paused for a moment and answered, “Probably not.” Recognizing the Boardwalk’s importance to the summer tourist trade, the city spent about $10 million for a multiyear reconstruction that included a new wood deck, substructure, ramps, pavilions and railings from Fifth to 12th streets. The facelift was done in increments during the off-season each year and was completed in 2018.

Council Introduces Ordinance to Limit Volume From Boardwalk Performers

City Council introduced an amended ordinance Thursday night to lower the volume from the Boardwalk entertainers who play music and sing for the summer crowds. The proposed measure would ban amplifiers, but would allow entertainers to use electric keyboards. A public hearing and final vote by Council are scheduled for April 25.

Dredging Work Clears Out Clogged Lagoons

Try to imagine, for a moment, a vast convoy of nearly 1,700 dump trucks rumbling down the highway. And also try to imagine each one of those trucks filled with a load of muddy goo. That is the rough equivalent of all the soup-like sediment that Sean Scarborough’s dredging company removed from the clogged lagoons in Ocean City and other Jersey Shore communities in the past few months. Altogether, Scarborough Marine Group dredged 25,000 cubic yards of muck from the back bays while clearing out private boat slips. Scarborough said some of the lagoons were so clogged with sediment that there was essentially no water in them during low tide, meaning that boats were trapped on mud flats at their own docks.

Trekkies Gather at OC-Con for LeVar Burton

In addition to the formidable Stormtroopers from the iconic “Star Wars” franchise, the Music Pier was filled Sunday with virtually every other villain and superhero from comics, movie and science fiction lore. Hundreds of OC-Con aficionados browsed through the comic books, trading cards, movie posters, action figures and other collectibles sold by vendors. LeVar Burton, of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" fame, was the headliner.

Upgrades to Help Music Pier Hit a High Note

Only a year after its devastating 1927 Boardwalk fire, Ocean City began construction on a grand concert hall that was to become the epicenter of entertainment and cultural arts in the resort town. The 1928 cornerstone plaque on the outside of the building indicates that it was originally christened the Municipal Pavilion, a rather bland name that clearly did not reflect the excitement going on inside. Now known as the Music Pier, a far more illustrious title, the oceanfront venue is about to receive a $2.1 million facelift to ensure it will continue to host concerts, shows and beauty pageants for many more years to come.

Council Approves Funding for Affordable Housing

City Council approved a $6.6 million bond ordinance Thursday night for affordable housing construction, including a new project that will allow senior citizens to leave a flood-prone neighborhood. The city is planning to build or rehabilitate affordable housing sites for senior citizens and low-income families. The projects will help Ocean City meet its state-mandated obligation to provide its “fair share” of affordable housing as part of a court settlement in 2018.