Ocean City —
Ocean City Council on June 14 heard a presentation from a representative of Ocean City Marina LLC, which will develop the city’s marina at Second Street and Bay Avenue.
The city acquired the property in 2009 for $3 million, of which $738,000 was county open space funds, and conveyed it to Cape May County in 2010. The city is operating the property under a 25-year lease, with the city paying the county $1 a year.
The property consists of a crushed shell upland parking lot and boat slips.
City Solicitor Dorothy McCrosson said the city advertised initial proposals for developing the marina in 2011, but only received one proposal, which was deemed inadequate.
The city rebid the project and received a bid from Ocean City Marina LLC.
“That site is a wonderful location which the administration feels has enormous potential but feels it’s underutilized,” McCrosson said.
McCrosson said the city, under the proposal, would continue to manage and maintain the upland portion. She said the developer would maintain the marina portion of the site.
“The proposal would be a public-private partnership and would be revenue neutral to the city, which the mayor and administrator insisted on. We believe we’ve struck a balance with this proposal,” McCrosson said.
Sean Scarborough of Ocean City Marina LLC, who previously outlined his proposal to the Planning Board on June 6, told council the marina would consist of three piers; two piers to the south are fixed piers, while the northernmost pier is a floating pier.
The marina will have 27 boat slips; four of those will be up to 34 feet in length, with the remaining 23 slips up to 40-feet in length. Scarborough said all of the slips on the fixed piers will operate with lifts.
“The bay and the wave action and the exposure to the elements is such that anybody who can have a lift really wants one,” Scarborough said. “It’s a very serious situation when you encounter serious weather, your boat isn’t safe.”
The northern dock will include a 60-foot gangway that conforms with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).
There will be 33 waverunner floats towards the gangway. The floating pier will contain kayak launch areas, ADA boat slips and a fishing pier.
Scarborough said a “modest” building was planned for the upland parking area for restrooms, showers and an office. The building, 800 square feet, will be ADA accessible.
A railing will be constructed along the walkway on the marina.
Scarborough said a $6,000 fuel dock had to be scrapped. He said the current design is capable of accommodating a fuel dock in the future if needed.
“We will bring all of the improvements at our cost. We will operate them. We will subsidize the effort for the first couple years of operation and then it will fund itself,” Scarborough said. “By backing up on the amount of improvements we are able to achieve that and at the same time accommodate a really first-class marina for the city.”
Scarborough added his company will apply for the necessary environmental permits required for the project.
Council Vice President Karen Bergman asked if the plans include a boat ramp. Scarborough said the plans do not. However, the only ramp available will be for kayaks and paddleboats.
“People in the north end felt they need to have a boat launch here and they were wondering if it could be incorporated into this in some way,” Bergman said.
“It’s certainly not the most ideal place because with a boat launch area it’s where you stage all your trailers and trucks they’re attached to,” Scarborough said.
Scarborough said the recent Route 52 causeway project included a boat ramp in Somers Point.
City Business Administrator Michael Dattilo added the city has a boat ramp at the Bayside Center between Fifth and Sixth streets as well.
Councilman Roy Wagner asked if plans include a “surf calmer” to reduce wave action.
Scarborough said there aren’t plans for a wave attenuator, which is a floating dock capable of reducing rough waves. He said the proposed floating docks sit in the water three feet deeper while the boat lifts raise vessels above the choppy waves.
“The docks we’re proposing will be of wave-attenuated standard,” Scarborough said.
Councilman Keith Hartzell asked whether neighbors living near the marina will be informed about the proposal.
“When we don’t let a neighborhood know what’s going on, we end up having people come here,” Hartzell said. “Either we have a meeting for the neighborhood about the building and what’s going to go on, or I would be glad to go door-to-door with a packet of information and let people know what’s happening.”
Dattilo said a public information session is planned for the Bayside Center to allow the neighborhood time to view plans for the marina.
Resident Tammy DiGiorgio said Scarborough’s presentation wasn’t on council’s agenda. She said many residents were surprised to read the Planning Board’s approval of the marina proposal.
“I do know that there are residents who would like to be informed and heard on this matter,” DiGiorgio said. “Our main concern is not so much what goes there, but it’s traffic and parking as it is in that area during the summer.”