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New Zoning Category in Ocean City, Maryland

Real Estate Agent with Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.

New Zoning Category in Ocean City, Maryland

As a Maryland REALTOR® and frequent visitor to Ocean City, Maryland, a local political issue has caught my eye: 

R-1A, a new zoning code designation approved by the Ocean City Planning & Zoning Commission last week, will restrict existing single-family properties currently zoned R-1 from being rented for any shorter period than 12 months. 

This zoning category is too new to have been implemented yet, but its passage does raise some questions for me.


The local Association of REALTORS® opposed this new zoning category, but its approval was driven by outspoken and relentless residents of one Ocean City neighborhood, Mallard Island.  These residents indicate that their established, tranquil community is being disturbed by occupants of two properties in the community that are rented on a weekly basis during the beach season. Needless to say, the owners of these rental properties are outnumbered, but what about their rights? It's highly likely that they purchased these properties as investments, intending to rent them during the summer, as many other properties are in this and other beach communities up and down the coast.  


Buying a house in a beach community and then complaining that your neighbor rents to summer beach-goers is similar, in my opinion, to someone buying a home near an airport and then complaining about airplane noise.  

If owner occupants of one neighborhood can persuade Ocean City, Maryland, officials to implement this restriction in their little beach town, what about college towns... Are College Park residents, neighbors of the University of Maryland flagship campus, going to be inspired by this precedent and seek similar relief in their neighborhoods so that investors cannot rent to college students? 


I don't have any vested interest in this matter, since I don't own property in Ocean City (or College Park, for that matter), and my real estate business is located in another part of the state. It does seem to me, however, that this is the first inch in a potentially slippery slope that could have collateral consequences beyond Ocean City.


Where is the Maryland Association of REALTORS® and RPAC®?  I've seen no mention of them assisting the Coastal Association of REALTORS® in their opposition to this zoning category, in spite of the potential implications for property rights statewide.


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This infoMargaret Wodarmation was provided to you by Margaret Woda, an Associate Broker with Long & Foster Real Estate in Crofton Maryland. Contact Margaret today for general real estate information or to learn how she can help you buy or sell a home in Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton, Davidsonville, Gambrills, and Odenton. 

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Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

It is very tricky. The defense that they have bought it as investment may not work, as they are most probably zoned as residential properties.

This is a growing trend, and we see it in Florida as well, and it is very troubling. It is this mentality, that now, that we are here, we do not want anyone else to come.

It will not eliminate tourism, but would make it so much more expensive to stay in hotels.

And these are the same people who would complain that they are being ripped off in New York...

Jun 24, 2015 03:12 PM
June Piper-Brandon
Coldwell Banker Realty - Columbia, MD
Creating Generational Wealth Through Homeownership

This is going to create a huge void in the rental market in Ocean City and cause some huge issues for people who own properties in Ocean City. 

Jun 25, 2015 03:30 AM
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

Just this past week, I read an update on this situation. Now that the Zoning Commission has approved the new category, the matter goes to the City Council. They're not ready yet to make any pronouncement, but the article did emphasize that this only impacts neighborhoods with current Zone 1 designation and there's "no risk" of the new restriction being applied to townhomes or condos - I might add "for now." It's the beginning of a slippery slope, as I mentioned before, and has implications not only for all of Ocean City but also for all of Maryland. Just my opinion.

Jul 11, 2015 03:56 AM