18 coastal cottages approved for 13th and Haven in Ocean City

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OCEAN CITY — Coastal cottages are on their way to becoming a reality after the Ocean City Planning Board unanimously approved an application to build 18 single-family homes at 13th Street and Haven Avenue Wednesday, Feb. 5.

The applicant, Costeria Cottages, LLC, sought preliminary and final major subdivision of eight lots into 18 lots on the 42,550 square-foot property located at 1212-1238 Haven Ave.

The planning approved the subdivision, the site plan and the conditional use, which is the coastal cottage.

Currently, the property houses storage buildings and a car wash.

According to the zoning standards, the proposed lot sizes will vary between 1,988 and 2,415 square feet, with homes sizes ranging between 1,700 and 1,520 square feet. The single-family homes will be between 2 and 2.5 stories.

According to their application, attorney Bill Serber is the contact for the applicant Costeria Cottages, LLC, which would also be the developer. The owners of the property are Arlene Coggins and Peter and Margaret Trofa. Terry Thomas is the architect.

“The next step would be to file subdivision plans with the county clerk, Serber said.

He said then the development process would begin, including budgeting, financing and construction plans. Serber said the cost per dwelling has not yet been determined.

City planner Randy Scheule said the site plan requires common open space, specifically a common walkway behind the buildings and a private access drive off of Haven Avenue, which will be maintained by the homeowners. A homeowner’s association and by-laws to be approved by the planning board and the Department of Community Affairs must be established, he said.

The coastal cottage ordinance was approved by City Council at its June 27 meeting after being brought forward as a concept in the city’s 2012 master plan re-examination.

When the ordinance was introduced, the idea behind coastal cottages was to encourage more affordable, single-family homes.

According to Scheule, although the idea is provide more affordable housing, regulating the pricing on homes is beyond what the city can control in a zoning ordinance.

“It was our interest to try to provide for housing that may be more starter-type homes or affordable for retirees, but we do not regulate housing costs,” he said.

Planning board chairman John Loeper said he was pleased to see the project come forward and that the application required no variances.

Loeper said the development plan expands on the goals of the city’s master plan.

“It’s an interesting form of land use,” he said. “We’re looking for single-family homes to come back on the island. This is a way.”

Loeper said that he believes this will provide for new, reasonably priced homes in a “very creative design.”

“Admittedly, there’s some smaller lots on the south end of the project,” he said, which he added allows for larger lots on the north end of the project.

Loeper believes there is an opportunity for coastal cottages on other parts of the island, too.

“I think that the opportunity’s there if people have the land large enough to do it in,” he said, noting that the zoning ordinance requires relatively large and deep lots.

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