Ocean View considers town road project

The Ocean View Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission reviewed conjoined site plans — (1) for a World Gym facility, and (2) for a pair of office buildings — at the May 19 P&Z meeting.
Coastal Point • SAM HARVEY: Indian River School District Grounds Superintendent Greg Weer and Ocean View Administrative Official Charlie McMullen look at plans for renovations for Lord Baltimore Elementary School.Coastal Point • SAM HARVEY:
Indian River School District Grounds Superintendent Greg Weer and Ocean View Administrative Official Charlie McMullen look at plans for renovations for Lord Baltimore Elementary School.

Ocean City contractor Larry Sawyer represented both applications, on behalf of locals John Roberts (owner, Bethany Auto Parts) and Jim Kyger (owner, Allstates Construction). Both applicants attended the meeting as well.

The new buildings would be located behind Roberts’ store, accessed by a new entrance opening into the cul-de-sac at the end of Town Road.

Roberts and Kyger have consolidated five smaller lots into two larger ones to support their respective applications.

Kyger’s plan shows two office/retail buildings, 3,000 square feet and 3,500 square feet, roughly, on a three-quarter acre plot, directly behind Bethany Auto Parts.

Roberts’ 5,600-square-foot gym project would rest on approximately an acre and a half, slightly behind and to the west of Kyger’s project.

As Sawyer pointed out, Kyger had agreed to grant Roberts a cross easement (for the entrance off Town Road), and Roberts had agreed to grant Kyger a stormwater easement (runoff from both parcels would flow to a pond north of the gym).

Most of the questions from the P&Z related to parking. As Commission Member Perry Townsend pointed out, it was tough to determine just how much would be needed for a gym.

“This isn’t like a restaurant, where we can count tables,” he noted.

However, gym representative Peter Brooks presented a series of graphs showing peak visitor hours at the Ocean City location (which is somewhat larger than the proposed building slated for Ocean View). They showed 28 members max in any given hour. While Brooks admitted they didn’t track non-members (walk-ins), he said customers didn’t typically wait around if all the exercise stations were in use — they just came back later when less people were around.

Sawyer noted 28 parking spaces, plus an agreement with Roberts to use part of the Bethany Auto parking as overflow in the afternoons.

The gym would be open seven days a week, from 6 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Similarly, Kyger’s application didn’t list specific businesses, which the P&Z could use to determine how much parking they might need. Sawyer said they’d calculated the 34 spaces on the requirement of one per every 300 square feet of retail/office space (plus a dozen spaces for employees).

Mitchell asked Town Solicitor Dennis Schrader if they needed to know what specific businesses Kyger planned to bring in, but Schrader said the presented parking plan was essentially self-limiting in that regard.

“It’s not going to be a restaurant,” he pointed out.

Kyger said he would likely use part or all of one of the buildings for a contractor’s office.

The P&Z also heard from Indian River School District’s Greg Weer (building and grounds super) at the May 19 meeting.

Weer is working toward site plan approval for the renovation project at Lord Baltimore Elementary School, but the situation is somewhat complicated by split jurisdictions on that property.

He asked the P&Z to consider annexation of the portion of the site that currently rests in Sussex County, and Schrader asked him a few questions ahead of the commission’s recommendation.

Weer said there would be no negative (or positive) tax consequences for the town, and he’d received letters from the Ocean View Police Department and Millville Volunteer Fire Company saying the change would not affect their service coverage.

Ocean View is working on a rezoning all up and down Route 26 as General-Business (GB), and just this month passed an ordinance making schools a permitted use in that district.

With that in mind, the P&Z unanimously recommended the town approve annexation of the county chunk, under the GB zoning (4-0, Chair Dick Logue absent).

Next, the school district will have to apply to the Town of Millville for yet another part of the same parcel that lies outside Ocean View jurisdiction. Weer said they planned to install geothermal wells under the playground area (afterwards returning it to its present appearance), and the new driveway would also slightly impact the Millville portion.