What has happened to good planning in Ocean City?

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To the editor:

In December 1999, I wrote about my concerns regarding the breakdown of our planning and zoning system. In my letter I referred to a person with common sense and good land planning concepts -Costal Commission Chairman Phil Butler. At the time he stated, “If the Zoning Board wouldn’t offer relief; architects, builders and others would stop requesting variances on a constant basis.”

What he stated in 1999 still holds true (even more so) today.

Looking back makes the effort by the city look even worse in its attempt to satisfy builders, Realtors and others in its attempt to reduce setbacks, side yards, rear yards and increasing the overall square footage of the McMansions they have created and at the same time destroying the neighborhoods that historically had been planned at the time to meet all local, county and state zoning requirements. At the time every subdivision that was created (and the city did not have many) was approved and housing was built that met reasonable zoning standards. At the time orderly development was taking place and neighborhoods were created such as Rivera. They were neat and orderly providing air space and good land use.

What has happened since then, well we all know Sandy hit our town; however, we were saved compared to the land and beaches to the north of us, Long Island and Staten Island.

What was our answer to Sandy?  It appears we now have zoning as a result of the flooding that runs the gamut from 5 to 6 feet to the first floor elevation along Asbury and Bay Avenues. Then we have the 8 foot requirement that seems to prevail along the Bay area.

If someone can explain to me why it goes from 8 foot plus down to 6 foot more or less on the island I would be more than happy to listen to the logic and the reasoning that was used.

In the meantime, the city is now creating a further breakdown of whatever was left of any orderly planning. It appears we have no logic.

It seems to me that instead of maintain standards that would enhance the aesthetic appearance of the overall city; the various planners and staff are doing everything within their power to create clutter and overbuilding in a city that is already over-built.

Just recently the city was presented with the new six-story 92 condominium (second home units) to replace what was already approved — the Soleil a five story complex that was to compliment The Flanders and provide it with the deed restriction maintaining 152 parking spaces for The Flanders.

Currently the existing redevelopment plan does not permit residential use. For this to occur, the Planning Board and the city would have to provide the necessary changes for the project to move forward. In 2005 the owners and residence of Ocean Avenue and the side streets raised objections to the project at the time and ultimately the local residents were satisfied, in my opinion.

We now have the Coastal Village concept and the six story 92 unit second home facility with its so called restaurant.

So much for good planning and zoning.

Louis C. Ripa

Ocean City 

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