Ocean City News In Brief

OCEAN CITY — In the
brief this week, Ocean City is deemed “storm ready”, the domesticated animal
ordinance continues to get more laughable, the mayor scoffs at a downtown
“eyesore”, and the Ocean City Municipal Airport is given the nod to conduct a
study that will pave the way for a newly paved runway.

Ocean City Granted
Storm Recognition

Ocean City was
officially granted Storm Ready Community Recognition by the National Weather
Service (NWS) on Tuesday, which ironically, also marked the first day of the
2010 hurricane season.

In efforts to help
communities prepare for and mitigate effects of extreme weather-related events,
the NWS has implemented the Storm Ready program, which also helps establish a
commitment to creating an infrastructure and systems that will save lives and
protect property.

Although NWS Warning
Coordination Meteorologist William Sammler told the Mayor and City Council that
receiving recognition does not necessarily mean that a community is storm
“proof”, he praised the town for its work to inform and prepare in the instance
that a catastrophic weather related event should occur in Ocean City.

Ocean City Director of
Emergency Services Joe Theobald was “thrilled” to be a part of the program and
vowed to continue his work to ensure that the visitors and residents of Ocean
City not only know the plan for evacuation in the event of a storm, but also
can implement that plan in a safe and efficient manner.

Storm Ready is a
voluntary program and the NWS has issued the town several large signs to post
throughout the town as a result of the town’s recognition into the program,
which will have to be renewed in three years.

Undomesticated Animal
Law Debated

The debate over
undomesticated animals is starting to nag at some City Council members like an
overzealous pet in desperate need of table scraps.

First, the debate began
over what kind of animal is allowed without a permit in Ocean City after a man
and his iguana (named Hilary) were strolling the Boardwalk and allegedly scared
some folks into calling their local council members. Then the debate moved
toward pet and retail stores that were selling small animals that allegedly
fell under the town’s undomesticated animal ordinance.

This week, however, the
conversation took a turn toward whether the size of the animal matters in the
town’s ordinance.

City Solicitor Guy Ayres
queried the voting seven on their desires for verbiage in the town’s ordinance
concerning the sale of undomesticated animals in the resort, such as lizards,
turtles, frogs and even hermit crabs.

“We are going to have to
address this at some point because we never have before,” said Councilman Jim
Hall. “I’d say anything four inches or less is fine with me. I just think we
need to have something in there so you can’t go buy a four-foot alligator in a
retail store and then take it up on the Boardwalk.”

The council voted 5-2
(with Margaret Pillas and Joe Hall in opposition) to find a manageable length
for sale of undomesticated animals at the retail, pet or variety stores in
Ocean City.

Mayor Wants Action On
Property

With the summer of 2010
already here, Mayor Rick Meehan thinks it’s time the city encourages a
longstanding development project to either get going, or get gone, for the summer
at least.

Meehan took umbrage with
the gigantic crane that has become what he calls an eyesore for area residents
in the downtown area of Ocean City that sits at the 1111 Edgewater Ave. project
that has been in stop-and-start mode for years, and to date, has already been
awarded two extensions.

“It’s in everybody’s
best interests for the project to get completed, and we know how tough times
are,” said Meehan, “but I’d rather see the city grant the developers another
extension than to see them send a few guys in there on bulldozers or on that
crane and work sporadically. I think it would be better if they just secured
the area and took the crane away for the season.”
City Manager Dennis Dare said that City Engineer Terry McGean has been tasked
to work with the developers in hopes of getting some sort of movement at the
work site.

Runway One Step From
Being Paved

Public Works Director
Hal Adkins got permission from the Mayor and Council to move forward with an
Airfield Pavement Condition Study, which is required by the Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) in order to repave a runway, as Ocean City has planned for
this year.

Although the contract
reads that the cost for the study is almost $100,000, the local or town
contribution for the study is a mere $2,500 as the FAA absorbs 95 percent of
that cost, with the Maryland Aviation Administration handling an additional 2.5
percent.

“It’s
going to be about a 60-day effort, and at the end of this study, we hope to
commence with the repaving of the north and south runway at the airport,” said
Adkins. “Although we aren’t changing the width or the length, it is notable
that it must be done as the runway that we have is in disrepair.” 

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