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Hotel, Resort Town Reach Facade Accord

Monday, July 25, 2016

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After clashes over appearance, an Ocean City, MD, developer and that city’s planning commission have come to an agreement on a paint job that will make a new hotel there look a little more resort-like—but the process that led to the truce was no day at the beach.

The new Residence Inn by Marriott, developed by Atlantic Planning, Development & Design Inc. and owned by Inns of Ocean City LLC, will feature a blue-and-white “ocean waves” design on one side, in accommodation of planners’ concerns about the “prison wall” facade of one side of the building.

View from the Interstate

The hotel, which is reportedly 90 percent complete as of July 2016, faces south toward the ocean, making the north side the back of the building. According to the developer’s plans, the windows all face the beach, because the view from the north face would all be of I-90 and a wastewater treatment plant.

Building plans
© iStock.com / mihalec

City planners say they believed the developer would come back to them with a plan for the facade before the building went up; the developer thought otherwise.

The downside: That north side, which was set to essentially be a large, blank wall with just a handful of windows, greets everyone who approaches the resort town from I-90. That’s the source of the controversy that arose after the building’s original approval in 2014.

Miscommunication

According to local newspaper The Dispatch, while the north face was discussed when the hotel was approved, there was confusion surrounding how and when the appearance would be addressed.

City planners say they believed the developer would come back to them with a plan before the building went up. The developer claims to have thought the hotel could be built and get up and running before the facade was addressed.

Ocean City beach
By Acroterion - CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The hotel (not pictured) faces south toward the Ocean City beach.

The compromise: An ocean-wave pattern will be painted on the north side of the hotel by December 2017; that gives the hotel time to get up and running first, but the process gave city officials a chance to review and approve the plan prior to the hotel’s opening.

The plan was addressed at a planning commission meeting on July 19.

Planning Commission Criticism

According to Ocean City Today, members of the planning commission expressed disappointment that the miscommunication resulted in such a delay in the facade project, and at least one questioned the developer’s concern about getting the hotel up and running in order to make enough money to cover the cost of the paint job.

“It scares me when the developer says we can’t afford $68,000 on a multi-million-dollar project to make something look better,” commission member Peck Miller told the paper. “It makes me think, who’s going to own that next week?”

The fact that the original approval did not specify when the facade had to be decorated didn’t serve as a particularly valid reason for the developer’s failure to address the issue, according to a member of the commission, who expressed that the end result isn’t particularly satisfactory.

“Even though we did not set a specific time or date for the review, we made it very clear that that wall was not acceptable,” Lauren Taylor told Ocean City Today. “The developers chose to build it without bringing it back, so whatever concept comes out of that is because they did not bring the design back.”

Developer Response

Durability + Design’s attempts to reach Atlantic Planning, Development and Design on Friday (July 22) were unsuccessful.

A representative for the developer, Rich Palmer, reportedly addressed concerns about the aesthetics of the new plan at the planning meeting.

“The wave is not an afterthought, the windows and the logo was designed with the wave in mind,” he said, according to Ocean City Today. “We weren’t trying not to comply with what you requested, but it would be helpful for you to define what aesthetic you’re trying to achieve.”

   

Tagged categories: Color + Design; Developers; Government; Hotels

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