VARIANCES, APPEALS & FIRE COMMISSION RULINGS

Variance Process

The Ocean City Fire Prevention Code (“Fire Code”) provides for a variance process in section 34-25. A variance to the requirements outlined in the Fire Code can be applied for by owners, managers, or lessees of properties where there are practical difficulties in the way of carrying out the strict letter of the Fire Code, provided that the spirit of the Fire Code is observed and public safety secured. Note: Application of a variance request does not absolve the applicant of liability or responsibility of Fire Code compliance unless written approval for variance is obtained.

The variance process is outlined below: 

Step 1: Request for Variance to Fire Marshal (OCFPC 34-25)

Upon receipt of a written, issued requirement of code compliance from the Office of the Fire Marshal (Violation Notice, Violation Letter, Plans Review Comment Sheet, Permit Application Denial, etc.), an owner, manager, or lessee may request a variance to the Fire Marshal from the requirements (in whole or in part), where practical difficulties exist in the way of in carrying out the strict letter of the Fire Code.

A variance request must be submitted in writing; details and submission requirements are contained on the Variance Application form found here: Variance Application PDF

Step 2: Appeal of Decision of Fire Marshal to OC Fire Commission (OCFPC 34-21, 26)

Upon receipt of written decision of the Fire Marshal related to a variance request, (which may include denial or approval with specific conditions), the applicant may then file a written appeal of the decision of the Fire Marshal within thirty (30) days to the Ocean City Fire Prevention Commission. The Fire Prevention Commission may countermand any action taken by the Fire Marshal, “whenever, in its opinion, the action is arbitrary, oppressive, and/or contrary to the spirit of this Code.”

Appeals to the Fire Prevention Commission must be submitted in writing; details and submission requirements are contained on the form found here: Fire Prevention Commission Application for Appeal PDF

Step 3: Appeal of Fire Commission to Circuit Court (OCFPC 34-26)

Applicants may appeal the final decision of the Fire Commission to Maryland Circuit Court in accordance with the procedures set forth in State law. Details on how to file an appeal via a petition for judicial review can be found here: https://www.courts.state.md.us/courthelp/administrativeappeals

Other Appeals*

See Fire Code section 34-26 for other actions that may be appealed to the Fire Commission.

FIRE MARSHAL MEMOS/VARIANCES

MEMO #

SUBJECT

EFFECTIVE DATE

1995-001

Storm Shutter Installation on Balconies of Sprinklered Buildings

October 19, 1995

1998-001

Policy-Fire Control Room Requirements

May 28, 1998

2000-002 - Amended

Sprinkler Installation in Carports and Garages - NFPA 13D

March 16, 2000

2004-001

Underground Water Supply for Water-Based Fire Protection Systems - Plan Review & Testing Requirements

June 7, 2004

2005-001

Cooking Equipment Outside of Any Multifamily Dwelling

May 18, 2005

2012-001

Single Family Clarification in Occupancy Classifications

July 13, 2012

2015-004

Hover Boards and the Fire Safety Concern

December 28, 2015

2015-005

Submissions for Site Plan & Plans Submitted for Permits/Construction

September 28, 2015

2016-002

Variance from NFPA 14, 5.5.1 2013 Edition (Pressure gauges only)

December 5, 2016

2017-001

Building-Mounted Photovoltaic/Solar Panels

January 12, 2017

2019-001 - Amended

Guidance for existing fire alarm system repairs and modifications

November 19, 2020

2020-001

Grilling Requirements for Multifamily Townhouse Style Structures

June 1, 2020

2020-002

Tiki Torch Guidance on Public/Private Property

July 29, 2020

2020-003

Automatic Tank Re-fill on NFPA 13D Systems

March 30, 2020

2020-006

Underground Water Supplies for Sprinkler Systems

December 28, 2020

2021-001

Aerial Fire Apparatus Access

January 22, 2021

2021-005

Life Safety Evaluation Requirements for Outdoor Special Events, Carnivals and Fairs

February 27, 2024 (updated)

2021-006

Building Rehabilitation - Tenant Separation Wall Renovations

September 23, 2021

2021-008

Two-Way Radio Communication Enhancement Systems: Requirements & Inspection/Approval Guidance

November 1, 2021

2022-001

Kitchen Exhaust Fan Access for Sloped Roofs

January 25, 2022

2022-002

Sprinkler Protection of Exterior Projections in Buildings Protected in Accordance with NIFPA 13

March 22, 2022

2022-003

Rehabilitation/Demolition of Existing Means of Egress

March 25, 2022

2023-001

Quality Assurance for Firestopping of Penetrations and Joints in Fire Resistive Assemblies 

May 1, 2023

2023-002

Means of Egress Plans Review and Inspections by Fire Marshal’s Office/Planning and Zoning Department

June 1, 2023

2023-003

Intermediate Disconnecting Means for Air Compressors in Dry Sprinkler Systems

December 1, 2023

2024-001

Required Installation of Light Dispersion Features on Double-Paned Low-E Windows

January 26, 2024

2024-002

Testing Requirements for Limited Area Sprinkler Systems

February 21, 2024

2024-003

Door/Gate Hardware Mounting Heights for Means of Egress from Pools

July 3, 2024

*Building/property-specific variances are maintained in the individual premise files at the Office of the Fire Marshal.