By Gee Williams, Contributing Writer
(Nov. 24, 2022) Oceans East was granted approval to add eight housing units to its Phase II design at last Wednesday’s Berlin Planning Commission meeting.
Brock Parker, land planner for the Oceans East development on Sea Hawk Road, said the main goal of the change was to enhance the symmetry and design of the project.
“I like the way the new design frames the look of the project,” Parker said.
He noted the changes do not affect the amount of land area for the second phase of Oceans East.
“The new pond will be larger than the one originally proposed and would become the central focal point of Oceans East,” Parker said.
The changes result in a net increase of four housing units from what had previously been planned. The revisions call for 12 more apartment buildings growing from 36 units to 48. And four fewer townhouse units resulting in a reduction from 22 to 18.
Oceans East has 164 units in the completed construction of Phase 1 and would be adding an additional 142 units in Phase 2 of the project. Parker said the total number of units for all phases would not reach 700 units.
The planning commission was also asked to approve a revision to the shape and size of the large stormwater pond that is central to Phase 2. Parker said the newly proposed pond would be larger and at a different angle than the one originally planned.
In this phase of the project, all of the townhouses are located above garages for motor vehicles.
“This next section will set the tone of the entire Oceans East project,” Parker added.
The Berlin Planning Commission approved the proposed revisions with a unanimous vote of 7-0.
Plak That Conceptual Plan
During its final agenda item the Planning Commission learned about a preliminary plan for a new project on an empty lot at 9933 Old Ocean City Blvd. located immediately west of the railroad tracks and adjacent to the former Tyson property on the north side of the street.
Wyatt Harrison, the owner of Plak That, which prints photos on planked wood, now located in West Ocean City, appeared before the Planning Commission to seek only their views on his intended use of the two-acre Berlin property.
He has an option to buy the undeveloped land and shared his vision for the site as a multi-building mixed use commercial project. It is zoned as a B-2 Shopping District.
Harrison said his plan includes retail and office space for his business plus a production area for Plak That with a couple of apartments above the offices.
In addition, he proposes separate buildings for some rentable warehouse space and potentially a café. He presented the planning commission with a packet of information that included some proposed layouts and parking for the site.
Planning commission members were directed by Harrison to look at version three of the conceptual site plan for the property.
“I want to create something that is aesthetically pleasing. In the front buildings, along Ocean City Boulevard,” he said.
Harrison explained he wants those buildings to be built with a wood exterior. The production and warehouse buildings in the back of the property would have painted metal exteriors similar to the Berlin Depot across the street, but in a different color.
Harrison said he is also considering building above street level apartments to rent above the two buildings nearest the street which is route MD 346. The number of apartments would depend on the space needed for parking.
He also described landscaping that includes sidewalks that he plans for the front of the property.
As his presentation was for informational purposes only, the Berlin Planning Commission took no action on the concept before they adjourned the meeting.