Ocean City News in Brief

brief this week, the town finalized a multi-million dollar dispute with a local
land owner, the city is in the process of picking up more than a dozen new city
buses, and a change to some language in a local ordinance will ensure that any
citations issued for open container violations will have a stronger leg to
stand on.

City, Laws Settle; Laws Looks Ahead

The municipal game of
“Risk” between the town of Ocean City and local business owner Rick Laws has
finally come to an end as the two sides put pen to paper and settled on a $5.1
million deal.

After the two sides came
to an agreement several weeks ago, the transaction was made official this week,
in which Laws agreed to sell his 64th Street property, which used to
be the Slide-N-Ride, to the town for the aforementioned total, as the town said
it “desperately needs” the land for future growth to the town’s wastewater
treatment plant that abuts the site.

The town was in fact so
desperate for the land, that it had moved last fall to go through condemnation
proceedings in which a jury would have to determine what is the highest and
best use for the land.  However, Laws
moved forward with his plan to build a five-story hotel on the site and had the
concrete pilings in place prior to the deal being made.

“I’m happy that it’s
over and we are looking forward and looking for a location to have our hotel,”
said Laws.

Laws concedes that there
“aren’t a ton of spaces available” on the island for his 104-room hotel
project, but some have pointed to a vacant lot near 67th Street as a
possible location for Laws’ hotel, which reportedly will be a Hampton Inn.

Laws gave no comment
concerning the 67th Street lot, but did concede that he had been in
talks with the landowners.

“Once we find a
location, we are going to have to do a redesign, and spend some time reworking
the plans because all the plans we have at this point were for the 64th
Street project,” he said.

City To Get 14 New Buses

The Mayor and City
Council voted unanimously to approve the purchase of 14 new buses for the town
of Ocean City that will reportedly cost the town upwards of $50,000.

The total cost for the
buses is roughly $5.5 million, but the Maryland Transportation Authority
absorbs 90 percent of that cost.

The town’s current fleet
is aging, and Public Works had recommended the move to purchase these new buses
last winter, in order to help ease the strain on the existing buses, which are
at their highest usage currently.

City Receives Golden Trumpet From Firefighters

The Maryland State
Firefighters Convention wrapped up last week and before the group left, they
stopped by City Hall and bestowed their highest symbol of participation and
partnership to the Mayor and City Council. That honor came in the form of a
golden trumpet.

“To have this presented
publicly from the Maryland State Firefighters who have been so great to Ocean
City is a very special things and we look forward to having you back for years
to come,” said Meehan. “You know that the summer has officially started when
you guys get here.”

Wastewater Leak May Cost The Town

Three minor sewer
overflows in the town of Ocean City has caught the eye of the Maryland
Department of the Environment (MDE) and the town has been fined a nominal fee
for each.

City Engineer Terry
McGean said this week that the MDE didn’t believe that the town had been
negligent in any way, but was fining the town $800 for each of the three minor
sewer overflows or SSO’s (sanitary sewer overflows).

McGean said that the
overflows were more than likely caused by excess grease, which plugs the lines
and causes the water to back up. He noted that the fines could have been as
much as $10,000.

It should also be noted
that the town of Ocean City notified the MDE of the minor overflows.

Booze In Parking Lots Law Changed

The town tightened a law
that will prohibit drinking and/or open containers in any municipal parking lot
in the town of Ocean City, including the Inlet lot, with an emergency

Last week, the council
took the first steps to making the change in the law, which had neglected to
specify municipal lots as being illegal drinking areas, after there was reports
that open container citations given in the Inlet Parking Lot were getting
thrown out of court because of the verbiage flaw.

As a result, the council
passed it with an emergency ordinance, with Mayor Rick Meehan’s concurrence on
Monday night, and it immediately takes effect.

There are a few
exceptions to this law, which include Springfest and Sunfest. This is the first
ordinance that the council has passed via an emergency ordinance since it voted
to ban the possession or the sale of Salvia in the town limits last summer.