Historic District Changes Coming to a Vote Soon

first_imgOcean City’s Historic District covers an area roughly between Third and Eighth streets, Central and Ocean avenues.Changes “six years in the making” to the ordinance governing Ocean City’s Historic District may finally come to a vote, according to Councilman Antwan McClellan.McClellan distributed a draft version of an amended ordinance to City Council members at their March 26 meeting. He later said he hopes to bring the ordinance forward for consideration “in the next couple weeks.”The changes stem from an effort to preserve more historic homes in a slowly dwindling inventory. Ocean City has a Historic District that surrounds the Ocean City Tabernacle in an area roughly from Third Street to Eighth Street between Central and Ocean avenues.The city’s Historic Preservation Commission had proposed a couple of changes designed to make sure owners make a good-faith effort to preserve or sell historic structures before demolishing them and building new.The first addresses the amount of time a property must be marketed for sale before it can be demolished and rebuilt.The second would require owners to obtain two certified appraisals for the fair market value of the property (as a historic home), and to list the property for sale at the lower price.The two changes are the most substantial in a proposed ordinance amendment that includes many minor “housekeeping” revisions.But a City Council subcommittee’s efforts to fully vet the ordinance led to a survey of homeowners (the majority who returned surveys said they’d opt out of the district, if they could) and a suggestion that a smaller district might work better. Read more: Historic? Or Just Old? Ocean City Considers Changes to Historic District.But McClellan said this week that the draft ordinance includes no proposed changes to the Historic District map.He said the period a historic home must be marketed for sale remains at six months. The Historic Preservation Commission had originally proposed a change to one year in an effort to make sure the property for sale could be seen in the summer._________Sign up for free news updates from Ocean City__________ The Commission later compromised and proposed six months, as long as two of them were summer months. But a further suggestion that the peak times for real estate searches are in the shoulder seasons led the proposed amendment back to six months.If the peak real estate season were defined as March through October, any six-month stretch would include two peak months.McClellan said the listing period is “still on the table.”“It’s been a long time,” Historic Preservation Commission Chairman John Ball said of the entire process. “We never realized it would be that controversial.”Map shows Ocean City’s local Historic District outlined in red, and the State and National Registers of Historic Places outlined in black. The state map includes a dogleg that encompasses the historic Bellevue Hotel at Eighth Street and Ocean Avenue (which burned to the ground in September 2012). The local map includes an extension drawn to include the historic U.S. Life Saving Station No. 30 at Fourth Street and Atlantic Avenue.last_img read more