OCEAN CITY – Public urination fines will be increased to $100 per incident this summer in Ocean City in an attempt to stress the severity of the infraction.
Last November, Councilman Brent Ashley asked the Police Commission to investigate increasing Ocean City’s fine associated with public urination. At that time, Ashley had learned the neighboring community of Dewey Beach had announced it was upping the ante on the civil violation.
The Dewey Beach Town Council had voted to increase the public urination fine from $85 to $200. According to Dewey Beach Police Sgt. Cliff Dempsey, public urination is one of the town’s top nuisance crimes and the hope is with a higher fine the act will decline.
Ocean City Police Chief Ross Buzzuro responded the offense is much more common in the summer season and is recorded by either a citizen-initiated call for service or the person is found by an officer urinating in an area open to the public.
Ocean City’s code states, “It shall be unlawful for any person to urinate or defecate on, from or upon any beach, public way, public street, public alley, public sidewalk, public boardwalk, public lot, public building and any other public property, except within proper facilities designated as public restrooms, within the corporate limits of Ocean City, Maryland.”
According to OCPD, if someone violates that law in police presence, it is a $25 citation. The individual does not have to appear in court as long as the fine is paid in at least the normal 15 days
Last week Buzzuro returned to the Mayor and City Council with the outcome of the commission’s discussion on the matter last week.
“Traditionally, the fine is $25 across the board for every citation, and it has been that way for a period of time,” he said. “We believe based on circumstances we propose the fine be raised to a minimal of $100 per incident.”
Ashley thanked Buzzuro and the commission for following through on the issue.
“I think strongly it sends a very positive message that we are concerned about quality of life issues here in town, and this goes hand-in-hand with what we are trying to do here to improve quality of life not only for the residents but also for the visitors as well,” he said.
According to City Solicitor Guy Ayres, a formal vote to increase the public urination fine is not needed due to the current law setting the maximum fine to $500.