The owners of a 16th Street lot currently leased by a car dealership will go before the Ocean City Planning Board on Dec. 9 with preliminary plans to build 10 new “coastal cottages.”
The 29,958-square-foot lot shares a block with the soccer field at Emil Palmer Park. The lot has 110 feet of frontage on Haven and Simpson avenues and 245 feet on 16th Street. Perry Egan Chevrolet uses the paved property to park some vehicles from its main dealership across the street. The lot also houses a 3-bay steel garage that would be torn down under the proposal.
At its meeting 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 9, at City Hall, the Planning Board will hear a proposal for preliminary major subdivision and site plans with a conditional use that would allow the coastal cottages. The meeting is open to public comment.
The small homes are part of a new concept to attract more year-round families to Ocean City. The idea was part of Ocean City’s latest Master Plan revision.
In a seaside town where the median home price is more than $550,000 and the median price for single-family homes far greater, the year-round population fell by almost 24 percent between 2000 and 2010 as many high-priced properties were purchased by investors and wealthy summer residents.
Instead of building duplexes, the “coastal cottage” plan calls for small houses to share lots — some fronting an alley, others fronting the street.
City Council paved the way for the concept by approving a zoning change in May 2013 — the construction of “coastal cottages” is now a conditional use within the city’s Drive-In Business (DB) Zone.
The application calls for 10 new single-family units and a short cul-de-sac with access from 16th Street. Each unit would include parking for two cars, and living space would be 1,520 square feet to 1,700 square feet.
The applicant is Palmer Center LLC, an entity owned by John Flood and his immediate family. The property has been owned by “various family comprised entities” of the Flood family since the 1950s, according to the Planning Board documentation with the application.
The lot is part of a DB Zone that has struggled to retain businesses. The soccer field was a former Super Fresh location. The former Peter Lumber Company property across Haven Avenue from the field was rezoned to allow single-family homes.
Three blocks down Haven Avenue, a former car wash and waste management business, were replaced by Ocean City’s first coastal cottages, which are currently under construction and reportedly being purchased by year-round families.