Only A Law If It Comes With Enforcement

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At this point, the passage of a tighter noise ordinance in Ocean City is meaningless. It will remain this way until the summer season and businesses begin violating it. That’s when we will truly know if the new ordinance has any teeth or if it was a waste of time.

As is the case with all laws passed, enforcement is critical, and this has been a problem in the past.

Whether authorities crack down in the summer months on the chronic offenders who pollute the Boardwalk experience with loud, excessive music will truly be the test.

Sure, it’s easy to enforce now when times are slow, but it will be the busy weekend nights of July and August that will prove to be interesting.

This will be when manpower is stretched from one end of town to the other and when the violators will be blasting their music, as they have done for years on the Boardwalk without any repercussions.

Based on their past, these offenders will unquestionably do what they have always done, and they will make the Ocean City Police Department enforce this new ordinance, which says “any radio receiving set, musical instrument, phonograph, sound amplification system or other machine or device for producing or reproducing sound on or directed toward a public beach, the Boardwalk, streets or other public ways” cannot be plainly audible outside a distance of 30 feet from its source.

The previous standard was 50 feet and inadequate for the Boardwalk. The new 30-foot requirement represents the width of the Boardwalk in most areas and about the width of a standard store on the boards.

The town will have to be vigilant when covering the enforcement of this ordinance, particularly early on in the season. It’s impractical for the OCPD to station officers in front of these stores throughout the day and evening, but that’s truly the only way to ensure they do not exceed the new threshold.

The public can help by reporting these violations to the police department. The town needs to be ready to truly crack down on the noise violators because simply passing the law will not do the trick entirely.

Last year, according to OCPD report on the calendar year of 2011, there were 366 noise complaints made and in 2010 there were less with 324.

The public as well as Boardwalk merchants will need to help authorities monitor the situation, and the easiest way to do that is to simply alert the police whenever these businesses step out of line.

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