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Ocean City Hopes ‘Coastal Cottages’ Attract New Families

first_imgThe commercial sites on the 1200 block of Haven Avenue in Ocean City where 18 new ‘coastal cottages’ will be built. The Ocean City Planning Board on Wednesday unanimously approved a plan to build 18 single-family homes on eight lots on the 1200 block of Haven Avenue.The small homes — “coastal cottages” — are part of a new concept to attract more year-round families to Ocean City.In a seaside town where the median home price is more than $500,000 and the median price for single-family homes even 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 eight duplexes (16 units) on the eight lots, 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.Costeria Cottages LLC  made the first application for the new conditional use. The plan calls for razing commercial buildings (Car Caress car wash and the former Coggins Waste Management) on a 42,500-square-foot area at the corner of 13th Street and Haven Avenue. The area has a 370-foot frontage on Haven Avenue and 115 feet on 13th Street.Attorney William Serber said the applicant hopes to see the project “revitalize and repopulate” an area where only one commercial property is active.Architect George Wray Thomas said the project requires no variances and that the impervious coverage (the amount of ground covered by buildings) would be no more under the plan for 18 coastal cottages than it would be under a plan for eight duplexes.A grassy common area — a “plaza” with a sidewalk — would separate some houses. A new alleyway parallel to 13th Street would separate others.The houses would be built on pilings and conform to new flood elevation guidelines, and each would have a single-car garage, Thomas said. Some houses would be 1,300 square feet, others 1,400 square feet.Thomas said each of the homes would have different designs to add to the visual appeal.Karl Van Tine, owner of a neighboring property, raised issues about drainage and fencing during public comment.Thomas told him that the property would be sloped and channeled to allow water to run off to the alley or street and into the existing storm drains. He said an existing six-foot stockade fence separating the new homes from existing homes would be rebuilt.The plan required minor waivers regarding drainage calculations, soil borings and sidewalk widths.The Planning Board approved the waivers, the site plan, the subdivision plan and the conditional use in its unanimous vote.“It’s nice to see more green space around buildings,” Planning Board Chairman John Loeper said.last_img read more

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