(May 22, 2015) The Worcester County Commissioners also discussed the following issues during their Tuesday, May 19 meeting.
Open space projects
The county commissioners approved, without comment, a submission of nearly $6 million in project open space funding for the county and its constituent municipalities.
Pocomoke City is requesting almost $60,000 for fairgrounds grandstand repairs, golf course paving and a new restroom building.
Snow Hill is requesting almost $129,000 for both Sturgis and Byrd park upgrades. The Town of Berlin is asking for $65,000 to redevelop John Howard Burbage Park and to expand the “tot lot” at Decatur Park. Ocean City is requesting $4.3 million to expand the Ocean Bowl Skate Park and to completely revamp the Downtown Recreation Complex. Worcester County asked for $452,000 for the county rec center, Newtown Park, Showell Park and John Walter Smith Park.
The local share of the requested funds is 10 percent of the request.
Hearing no objections on the subject, the county commissioners granted the Oscar Purnell House on 107 E. Market Street to the Town of Snow Hill. The town plans to use it as a new Town Hall and headquarters for the Snow Hill Police Department.
The structure still requires an estimate $1 million in repairs, Council President Jim Bunting said. The county estimated it had already sunk $600,000 into the structure.
New building standards
The county must begin enforcing the International Building Code, the International Residential Code and the International Energy Conservation Code, despite the commissioners really not wanting to.
The updated codes do allow for local amendments, but remove an “opt out” portion concerning fire sprinklers in one- and two-family dwellings.
A motion to pass the standards was begrudgingly offered by Commissioner Joe Mitrecic, but failed due to a lack of a second. County Attorney Sonny Bloxom admonished the board, stating the county would be liable for damages, or open to litigation from the state should the new standards not pass.
Commissioner Ted Elder, voicing his displeasure at the “international” part of the standards by declaring the United States “a sovereign nation” remained the only nay vote.
Hearing on floodplain
The Flood Insurance Rate maps are almost ready after an extensive period of study and comment. They will become effective on July 16, according to Planning Director Ed Tudor.
The county will hold a public hearing on the maps on June 16, after which a vote will be held on an emergency ordinance to formally adopt the new maps.
Citing decreased need due to an increased effectiveness in staff, county employees have proposed abolishing the Shoreline Commission.
A county code amendment will be necessary to end the commission.
A public hearing on the matter is scheduled to be held on June 16.
E-1, C-1 zoning changes
The county considered removing the E-1 estate zoning classification a few years ago, but then decided not to.
However, all the functions contained within the E-1 district were not restored along with the classification. On a petition from local attorney Joe Moore, storage and light maintenance of seaworthy boats in operable condition will be permitted by special exception, as long as the site and structures meet guidelines.
A similar bill was passed without objection permitting the same kinds of uses by special exception in the C-1 Neighborhood Commercial District as well.