Friday, July 16–Ocean City Seeks Compromise On Bulkhead Issue

OCEAN CITY — The Mayor
and City Council said it would absorb the costs to put in walkways near a
privately-owned bulkhead between 8th and 9th streets on
Edgewater Ave., if the property owners agree that it can be used as a public

Edgewater Ave. property
owner Frank Hoover penned a letter to town officials complaining that the small
strip of asphalt near the bulkhead had been maintained by the town of Ocean
City for the past “21 years that I’ve owned the property” and said that the
town’s recent work to repair some sinkholes was unacceptable.

“Now the city comes
along and fills half a pot-hole, how ridiculous is that,” queried Hoover in a
letter to City Engineer Terry McGean, City Manager Dennis Dare and the entire
Mayor and City Council. “This public walkway between the bulkhead and the curb
between 8th and 9th streets is very popular with tourists
for fishing, crabbing and the locals year-round for dog walking. These
pot-holes are dangerous and very unsightly.”

According to Public
Works Director Hal Adkins, there is a 30-foot city right of way that the town
owns and maintains, including the east side sidewalk, the street bed, the curb
on the west side and a portion of the area west of the curb. East of that, said
Adkins in an interdepartmental memo, “is private property, including the
bulkhead and the underwater lots [boat slips].”

McGean had recommended
to the council that the property owner and the town split the cost for the repairs
needed on the strip of land 50/50, but Councilman Doug Cymek called for a
compromise of sorts, thus motioning to have the city absorb the cost of the
repairs as long as Hoover allowed the strip of asphalt to be accessible to the

“I make a motion that we
absorb the costs on a one-time basis and resolve this horrible situation,” said
Cymek, “but I would like to see the owners sign a waiver that would allow the
public to officially use the subject.”

Several council members
spoke out on this issue due to the fact that several of them live near the
strip of asphalt in question, but Councilman Joe Hall worried that there would
be a new precedent set.

“The community is going
to gain a sidewalk along the bay and that’s a good thing, but how do we justify
doing this when the next guy comes along and wants us to do the same thing,”
Hall said.

In the end, the council
seemingly made a compromise to appease an angry property owner and in the
process gave the public official access to an area that Hoover says the public
already utilizes.

“They already are using
it now, so that’s fine with me,” said Hoover. “They are there fishing all day
long and all hours of the night, mostly smoking pot or something.”