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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Hearings on Tyson purchase, text amendment set for Nov. 9

Berlin’s Mayor and Council introduced a pair of ordinances on Monday that, if passed, could have a major impact on the town’s future.
The first, Ordinance 2015-06, updated a zoning text amendment that was pulled from a public hearing during a previous meeting on Sept. 28.
Originally, the amendment allowed the Berlin Planning Commission leeway on the town’s zoning code restrictions on the size of multifamily dwelling projects if a development plan served “public necessity, convenience, general welfare and good zoning practice.”
That amendment, however, would have placed no limit on the number of dwelling units a project might have.
Several public objections, as well as objections by at least one councilmember, caused attorney Mark Cropper, representing the Rinnier Development Company, to pull the measure.
Then, following a planning commission meeting on Oct. 14, a new version of the amendment was passed with a ceiling of 36 dwelling units.
The second ordinance introduced on Monday (2015-07) set in motion a $3 million bond that would be used to buy the former Tyson’s Chicken plant on Old Ocean City Boulevard, which the town plans to transform into a recreation facility.
During the meeting, Mayor Gee Williams said public support for the project had been “consistent and vocal,” especially during the series of strategic planning sessions held last winter.
The council voted to purchase the property in December subject to the results of an appraisal as well as environmental and feasibility studies. The appraisal and environmental reports came back to the town’s satisfaction, and Williams said he expected the results of the feasibility study to be presented soon.
Specifics on the exact use of the property were not available, although Williams said “nothing’s off the table at this point.”
“There are a lot of exciting possibilities,” he said. “Stay tuned.”
If the ordinance is approved, the town could close on the property by early next year, he said.
A public hearing on both ordinances will be held during the next Town Council meeting, on Monday, Nov. 9.