Ocean City News in Brief

brief this week, the City Council decided to wait until chiming in on a
national offshore oil drilling debate, the total for town seized taxi
medallions now stands at three and the newly amended undomesticated animals
ordinance continues to spark conversation.

Council Stays Mum On Offshore Drilling Debate

Ocean City is staying
out of the debate concerning offshore oil drilling, at least for now.

Councilwoman Margaret
Pillas pitched an idea, after hearing all the debate concerning Virginia Gov.
Bob McDonnell’s recent proposal to utilize offshore drilling practices in
search of oil and natural gas in hopes of earning money for transportation in
the state, to have Mayor Rick Meehan write a letter to Maryland Gov. Martin
O’Malley, stating that Ocean City was against an idea should it be brought up
in Maryland.

“I’m not sure how
everyone else feels about this up here, but if we get some support for it,
maybe we should write a letter and state our concerns,” said Pillas.

In the wake of the
gigantic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, McDonnell’s idea has sparked quite a
national debate including reports from the Department of Defense that such a
venture in Virginia would interfere with naval operations, as well as the
obvious concerns from environmental advocacy groups.

However, several members
of the council wanted to stay out of the debate until more information came out
or a decision was reached in Virginia. The council ultimately decided not to send
a letter yet.

“I don’t think we have
enough information to make the right call on this as of yet,” said Councilwoman
Mary Knight. “Normally, I’m kind of in favor of offshore oil drilling.”

Ironically, former
Virginia Gov. and current chairman of the DNC (Democratic National Committee)
Timothy Kaine said this week that the state should consider looking into the
much more environmentally friendly offshore wind farms, rather than oil

The debate over offshore
wind turbines off Ocean City’s coast has been going on for quite some time,
with those in opposition claiming that offshore wind turbines, despite their
environmental and energy producing pluses, are unfavorable to some due to the
effect that it would have on people’s views of the ocean.

Three Taxi Medallions Seized

Last week, the police
commission seized another taxi medallion from a fleet owner who failed to get
his car inspected a month after the extended deadline to do so.

Taxi medallion #148 was
commandeered by police officials from the previous owner, who had purchased two
medallions at the sale on March 1, but was unable to get the second car on the
road in 30 days, as the ordinance states.

“We just can’t allow
people to get a car on the road even after the extension date and look at everyone
else in the industry in the eye and say why we allowed this,” said Councilman
Doug Cymek. “We have to be fair to everyone.”

To date, City Clerk
Kathy Mathias says that three medallions have been seized by the town: one for
a late payment, the aforementioned failure to get a car inspected and the
medallion that was taken back after town officials believed that a fraudulent
transfer sale of the medallion had occurred.

Although there has been
talk at the council level about putting these medallions back on the market, as
of press time, the city’s strategy for what to do with the “banked” medallions
seems to be keeping them close to their proverbial hip at least until the first
summer season under the new medallion system comes to a close.

“They just had another
payment that was due for the medallions (on the 15th) and I know
that as of 10 minutes to 5 o’clock that day there were a few that hadn’t paid
yet, but from what I understand everyone got their payments in and all is well
for this month,” said Mathias.

Undomesticated Animal Debate Turns To Pet Stores

A man walking his iguana
on the Boardwalk stirred up so much concern that it got language in a town law
changed, and a debate about pet stores started this week amongst City Council

Although City Solicitor
Guy Ayres changed the language in the town’s ordinance that allows so-called
undomesticated animals in residences and by permit only, the council was still
a bit concerned about other such animals being sold within the town limits.

“So does this mean that
any pet store that sells frogs or lizards or whatever needs to come before [the
Mayor and City Council] and get a permit that would allow them to do so,”
queried Councilman Jim Hall. “There are pet stores that are selling these
things, and I just am not sure what we are supposed to do now that we’ve
changed the verbiage in this ordinance. 
In my 24 years up here, no one has ever come before us to get

The council voted 6-1,
with Joe Hall in opposition, to move the newly amended verbiage change through
to second and final reading, but never pulled the trigger on any changes in the
ordinance that involved pet stores.