Ocean View officials have a bit of a pickle on their hands.
The proposal to change three lots in the town to commercial use has ramifications for the future of the town, and has stirred up a hornet’s nest of controversy amongst residents. While controversy is certainly nothing new to Ocean View officials, this particular situation is.
The use of the lots, located along Route 26 at West and Central Avenues, is probably not the most controversial part. We’ve seen lots go from residential to commercial all along Route 26 in recent years, from Bethany Beach west to Millville, and there have barely been whispers from residents in many of those instances. However, the reported CVS that would go in this particular area has people up in arms.
“I’ve received more than 50 e-mails and telephone calls about it,” said Mayor Gordon Wood. “It’s getting to the point where I can’t respond to them all. The phone’s ringing every five minutes.”
Many opponents to the change believe the look of the CVS store will forever alter the small-town feel that Ocean View has protected over the years. They also worry about increased traffic congestion at what is already a difficult intersection. And they question the need for another pharmacy of any sort to open in the area.
Proponents of the plan often cite the increased money that will go to the town, which is facing serious budget questions. They also argue that CVS has an excellent reputation, and that this vote coming to Ocean View Town Council next week is about a zoning change, not on the merits of CVS or any other company coming to town.
This is a tough call, and one that is obviously not being taken lightly. Residents have expressed their opinions and representatives of the applicants have made their case. If approved, that area will never look the same. If denied, the town risks being viewed as “anti-business.”
The Ocean View Town Council is expected to make their decision at their Jan. 12 council meeting at 7 p.m.