OCEAN CITY – Enforcement of zoning laws regarding scooter regulations and outdoor display policies is in full swing this season.
In February, the Mayor and City Council became concerned over the proliferation of scooter rental businesses in town and the safety concerns that have surfaced, such as a rapid increase in the number of scooter-related accidents. The Planning and Zoning Commission was tasked to focus on the industry and come forth with recommendations.
The first ordinance proposed would require all existing, or new, scooter rental businesses to comply with the new regulations this year or not be granted a business license, which would be in place from June 1 through May 31, 2013. The second ordinance requires scooter rentals to apply for a conditional use permit.
One of the proposed regulations that caused the most controversy among scooter rental operators is the licensee must provide instruction and training to each customer in advance of the rental of the vehicle, as well as provide a training area on the premise of the business or on other private property within a reasonable walking distance. The training area must be unobstructed paved surfaces at least 20 feet wide by 50 feet long in order to provide adequate space to turn, accelerate and stop the vehicle.
On Tuesday Zoning Administrator Blaine Smith updated the Mayor and City Council on the enforcement of the ordinances that went into effect on July 1.
According to Smith, there were 20 pre-existing scooter rental business licenses prior to the ordinances and all 20 renewed their licenses but only 18 are active. There have been no new scooter rental license applications.
According to Planning and Development Director Jesse Houston, there have been five first violation letters issued and two citations for second violations.
The two citations along with $250 fines have been issued to Island Cycles on Baltimore Ave. and Scooters by the Beach on Philadelphia Ave.
Smith explained citations are mostly due to the operators displaying scooters in public-right-away.
“It has been a challenge to meet all of the criteria in the ordinance,” Smith said. “I think it has been successful … when this ordinance was first passed the goal was safety.”
As for outdoor display policies being enforced on the Boardwalk, there have been seven citations, with fines, issued for third violations, and one suspension for a week was imposed on NY Piercing.