Ocean City News In Brief

OCEAN CITY — In the brief this week, the 30th Annual St. Patty’s Day Parade got the final nod of approval, the airport got the go-ahead to build a new hangar, the paperwork for a new kayak venture at Ayres Creek was presented and a new discussion on taxi licenses got tabled.

Green Light For Parade

In may have been simply part of the process, but the Mayor and City Council, as expected, unanimously approved the special event permit request for the Delmarva Irish-American Club to hold its St. Patrick’s Day Parade next weekend.

The parade itself has ballooned into the second largest parade of its kind in the state of Maryland, according to Buck Mann, who is one of the founders of the event and will act as parade Grand Marshal this year.

“I remember a time when the parade consisted of two convertibles and a chicken truck,” said Mayor Rick Meehan. “So to see how large this event has grown over the years is fantastic and I think that it’s very fitting that Buck [Mann] will be leading the parade this year.”

As per usual, the parade will head southbound toward the 45th Street Village from its starting point at 61st street. This year, the annual parade will cost the town $17,150.

Final Paperwork Drawn

Up For Kayak Launch

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been drawn up between the town and the Maryland Coastal Bays Foundation, serving as the final piece in the puzzle to make the kayak launch at the old Ocean City landfill near Ayres Creek a reality.

After the town decided to forgo its initial concerns of liability insurance coverage and allow the Maryland Coastal Bays to operate the low-impact kayak launch, the MOU outlines the Coastal Bays group will handle the daily operations, improvements and the maintenance/upkeep of those particular improvements, while the town of Ocean City will handle the upkeep and maintenance of the existing area (ie, grass cutting, etc.) and demolishing and removing anything that needs to be removed for the improvements to take place.

Almost $49,000 in State Highway Administration grant money will be used to install a small wooden walkway, the kayak launch itself, a small parking lot and a gate.

As stated in the MOU, the town of Ocean City will assume liability for insurance purposes.

New Hangar Is Final Piece

In Airport’s ‘Master Plan’

The council approved a bid to construct a five-unit hangar box-styled building at the Ocean City Municipal Airport on Monday, which according to Public Works Director Hal Adkins will fill the last remaining open space of the airport’s current master plan.

The construction of Hangar J, as it will be called, has been in the works for the better part of two years, and there is a waiting list of nine planes that await the construction of the hangar to fill the five spaces that will be available.

“We’ve had this waiting list for quite some time of either nine people who have planes they would like to keep here or are in the market to buy planes,” said Adkins. “I’m happy that we can finally give these folks a simple yes or no answer.”

Melvin L. Blades and Son Inc. have been awarded the bid to design and construct the building at a grand total of $695,000, which the town will be able to finance, while offsetting the costs with the rental fees gained from the new space.

“A year ago, we got a price quote for this job and it was close to a million dollars, and we couldn’t have done it for that much money,” said Adkins. “It is my hope to go ahead and put this hangar in, fill it with the awaiting tenants and help make the airport a first class facility.  But, if you don’t vote for this tonight, it probably won’t ever get built.”

Home Taxi Licenses Tabled

The timing of a discussion on taxi companies that are based out of residential areas seemed a bit too close to the huge changes that the industry is undergoing and was tabled until the fall as a result.

Zoning Administrator Blaine Smith told the Planning and Zoning Commission on Tuesday of his desire to discuss the home occupation license, which has allowed for some taxi companies to establish their company headquarters in residential neighborhoods.

“We’ve received a number of complaints from residents about the number of vehicles and people who seem to congregate at all hours of the night in these residential districts,” said Smith. “It is impacting the neighborhoods and we need to determine if there are in fact too many vehicles coming and going from these residential properties.”

Presumably, the discussion will lead to a public hearing if any changes to the home occupation license are proposed, but the reactions were mixed from the commissioners.

“I think this should be discussed as I know about it first hand,” said Commissioner John Staley. “I have a cab business that operates right across the street from me, and there are cars coming in and out at all hours of the night, and people congregating on the streets at 2 a.m. when they change their shift and it wakes up the entire street.”

The decision to hold the discussion until the fall was most likely linked to the recent taxi medallion rule.

“They probably feel abused right now”, said Lauren Taylor, “so I think the timing on this is really bad.”