At the work session on Thursday, Aug. 16, Mr.Guy LaMotta handed Manorhaven Village Trustee Carolyn Weber an article which Ms. Weber passed on to the rest of the trustees. She was telling the board members, read the article and saying, this is what's happening all over the country. What she was implying is that other areas are creating Overlay Districts with incentives. The article titled "Town Moves to Stay a Step Ahead of Developers" was published in a magazine called Trade Only in October 2006. Under the bold title it reads: Ocean City Officials Develop an Incentive - Laden Master Plan to Keep Their Marinas Operating. The article reads: "We just finished a master plan for the town and one of the issues we identified is the need to preserve marinas," says Jesse Houston, the town's planning and community development director. I called Mr. Houston and in conversation I explained our present waterfront situation along with our present C-1 commercial Marine Zoning. He advised me that Manorhaven's present C-1 Zone is much stronger than that of Ocean City's. He said it sounds like your zoning is in place to maintain and promote marinas in your area. I said, that is and always was the intention of the current zoning law. He then asked me if Manorhaven, like Ocean City was a tourist destination? I said no. Mr. Houston then went on to say, he wouldn't see any reason to change the zone to permit condos or residential use unless the current property owners approached the village claiming hardship. Mr. Houston explained, Manorhaven is at one end of the spectrum and Ocean City is at the other. We already have a "mixed use" zone in play and now we are trying to get a handle on it. Ocean City is now at the hands of the developers and in order to protect and save our five marinas we are forced to create an Overlay District which offers incentives to these developers. Mr. Houston said, if and whenever your proposed E-2 District is passed, Manorhaven's waterfront properties will become more valuable with condos than marinas and without the income from tourism it will be very hard for the condo associations to maintain these marinas. He said, on an average only 10 or 15 percent of condo owners actually own boats. There is a shortage of boat slips all over the country says Houston, because many marinas become preyed upon by developers as the waterfront properties become buildable. On Aug. 22 at the E-2 public hearing in Manorhaven, Mayor Capozzi waved this same article to the public saying it's being done all over. Maybe the rest of the board members should have investigated the article as I did, before trying to shove it down the public's throat. The E-2 District will be voted upon on Sept. 6 at 8 p.m. at Manorhaven Village Hall. We should all attend.
If you were unable to attend the E-2 public hearing on Aug. 22, I will give you a quick rundown of the events. The meeting started late. The public did not have the most current copy of the proposed law at hand. The board only had a draft copy. The zoning map displayed to the public cited incorrect boundaries (remember, this was a "Metes" and "Bounds" hearing on the E-2; the "Uses" part was added later). The public speakers were being interrupted, ridiculed and shut down (not one speaker was out of control). A board member was also, ridiculed and shut down (that's my first in eight years). As the public shouted, "let him speak" - the police were called in. The mayor asked to have coffee with everyone who got up to speak (what was that all about?). Only one person, Richard Li, in a room of about 80, spoke in favor of the proposed E-2 Overlay District. The arrogance in the air was so thick you could have cut it with a knife and four hours later the trustees were all asked to go out for coffee....I did not go.
Now that's a meeting to remember!
John M. Di Leo Jr., Trustee
Village of Manorhaven