Some could argue it’s a matter of semantics, but it’s important for supporters and detractors of the current smoking regulation process in Ocean City to remember an outright ban is not happening.
Ocean City appears to be honing in on its chosen direction with an ordinance to return next month that essentially creates a number of designated smoking sites along the beach. The latest issue was whether to create select additional sites along the actual Boardwalk for smoking or to just utilize the existing stations on the beach that had been essentially supported as a means to allow beach-goers a place to light up away from others. The council essentially decided this week to utilize the designated beach stations and we think that was the correct decision.
It should be clear that it’s not a smoking ban that Ocean City is closing in on. In fact, it’s rare for municipalities to ban it in the open air. Instead they offer designated sites, which keep smoke away from the general populace. That’s what has happened in Delaware resorts and across the country and it’s what is happening in Ocean City.
The City Council was right this week to push the Boardwalk smokers to the beach where designated sites will already be in place for the beach. In some areas, it’s about 20 feet from the boards and 50 feet in most cases. Creating other locations along the wooden promenade were problematic for the businesses paying top dollar to operate on it as well as visitors trying to access the beach at the street-ends, which was where the city initially pitched smoking stations.
It’s not a ban, but it’s as close as it gets. Nonetheless, the difference is noteworthy and the extremists who allege their days of vacationing in Ocean City are over as a result of this new direction need to remember that.
More than likely, smokers walking the Boardwalk will feel like it’s a ban when they have to hit the beach to light up, but at least they are convenient options.
The planned creation of a Boardwalk Regulation Task Force is what should be the first step toward Ocean City taking another shot at regulating street performers. Officials learned the hard way last summer that they cannot simply allow the federal court ruling on a case challenging the town’s street performer regulations to be the final say on the matter. They … Continue reading
Ocean City needs to quickly resolve what it wants to do with smoking on the beach and the Boardwalk. This has been a difficult and unnecessarily complicated process for the town, and the new Mayor and Council, with its three new council members, is clearly struggling with it as was the case with the former body, which was divided 4-3 … Continue reading
Worcester County will soon be out of the liquor business. The only question is when, and this should not come as a major surprise. The open marketplace is doing exactly what it was expected to do to the former monopoly — making it unprofitable. Initially, the Department of Liquor Control (DLC) was estimating it would see a 25-percent decline in … Continue reading
Part of the two-phase expansion of the Roland E. Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, the new Performing Arts Center is now open and will host its first major event this weekend. While unquestionable excitement surrounds its opening, it needs to be tempered with the fact the $8 million facility is a long-term investment. That needs to be kept in … Continue reading
It’s natural for there to be mixed reactions to the recent redevelopment trends in Ocean City. The new, 101-room, four-floor LaQuinta Inn & Suites on 32nd Street recently opened and replaced the former Ocean Voyager Motel between Philadelphia and Baltimore avenues. The former site to the Ocean City Health and Racquet Club will soon become a 150-room Residence Inn and … Continue reading
At first glance, the feasibility study for a possible excursion train operation in Worcester County does not look promising as an initial step, but the effort deserves further consideration before its abandoned. The question is how much money has to be spent during this evaluation period before a conclusion can be made on whether this sort of operation will be … Continue reading
Worcester County Education Foundation Chair Todd Ferrante shared this week a You Tube video called “Did You Know? Shift Happens.” It provides a wealth of information, most of which is concerning how critical technology and associated enhancements will be in the lives of today’s young people and in particular their future. For example, one fact included in the video was … Continue reading
On the national, regional and local front, Tuesday’s election was all about the Republican Party, which swept nearly all races of significances on many levels and particularly on the hyper-local front on the shore. For only the second time in the last few decades, Maryland will have a Republican governor in Larry Hogan, who did what Bob Ehrlich did back … Continue reading
Overview The following is a look at our endorsements for a number of local contested elections. These endorsements are intended to give readers a glimpse into why we have decided to support certain candidates. We take this obligation of offering our suggestions seriously at this newspaper, and it’s important to point out these are endorsements based on our independent analysis … Continue reading