OC Wants Coastal Bays In Legislation

OCEAN CITY – The Town of Ocean City, along with the Maryland Coastal Bays Program, is making efforts to include the Coastal Bays in proposed legislation that, if passed, would provide financial assistance to the protection of the Chesapeake Bay.

The City Council unanimously approved a motion to send a letter to the legislators this week requesting that the Coastal Bays remain in the proposed Senate Bill 213 and House Hill 369.

 “We’re following a number of bills for you in the legislature and two of them are Senate Bill 213 and House Bill 369,” said Planning and Zoning Director Jesse Houston this week.

Senate Bill 213, titled Chesapeake Bay 2010 Trust Fund, reads, “The purpose of the Fund is to provide [the] financial assistance necessary to [meet, by 2010,] advance Maryland’s progress in meeting the goals established in the Chesapeake 2000 Agreement for the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, including the Patuxent River, by focusing limited financial resources on nonpoint source pollution control projects in all regions of the state.”

Houston explained that he originally thought the Coastal Bays had not been included in the bill at all. “Dave Wilson, [of Maryland Coastal Bays], informed me that it has been put in, but he’s not sure if it will stay in,” said Houston.

In an effort to keep the Coastal Bays included in the bill, the Maryland Coastal Bays Program will be sending a letter, stressing the importance of its inclusion in the bill

Houston suggested the town follow en suite and send a similar letter.

Houston pointed out the Town of Ocean City spends a significant amount of money each year to enforce the Critical Area Program and to contribute to maintaining the Coastal Bays.

“We’ve been doing our share, it would be nice to get some of it back,” said Houston.

“Ocean City implements and enforces the State-mandated Critical Area Program at considerable local expense. Inclusion of the Coastal Bays watershed in SB 213 would enable us to implement projects to enhance water quality and strive toward meeting the goals of the Critical Area Program and the Maryland Coastal Bays Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP),” reads a drafted letter to Senator Lisa Gladden from the Mayor and Council. 

Councilwoman Nancy Howard suggested that Mayor Rick Meehan go to Annapolis to testify the importance of the Coastal Bays to Maryland.

The council voted unanimously to send the letter to all appropriate parties and to send the mayor to Annapolis to testify.