Ocean City News in Brief

brief this week, the town’s legal counsel tells the City Council to reconsider
the ban on K-2, the City Hall parking lot becomes an official revenue source
and grilling in public lots will now require a city permit.

Council Changes Mind On

Ordinance To Ban Substance

Last week, the City
Council voted to move forward with a ban of the controversial herbal spice K-2
as it did with the psychoactive plant Salvia Divinorum last summer.

This week, City
Solicitor Guy Ayres advised the council to essentially recant its decision and
simply adhere to the state’s law already in place.

“There are five chemical
compounds that are sprayed onto the otherwise legal spice or herb that creates
the synthetic cannabanoid,” said Ayres. “What I’m told is that there are a
number of different compounds that could be sprayed on this herb that would
make it a different product entirely. 
So since there are innumerable different chemical compounds, the state’s
law deems it to be an analog drug and it’s on the DEA’s list as well, so I
would recommend that you simply treat it as written in the state’s law.”

Ocean City Police Chief
Bernadette DiPino said that the controversial product essentially disappeared
from Boardwalk stores’ shelves several weeks ago, after a letter was sent out
to all retailers who were carrying K-2, to remove it from their shelves, as per
the DEA’s addition of the substance to it’s ‘drug of concern’ list.

Ayres believed that the
state’s law was the reason that the product was removed so quickly.

Mayor Rick Meehan said
that the important thing is that the product is off the store’s shelves, but
expects the situation to never really go away entirely.

“There will probably be
a new product next year, and we will address that when it comes out, but
regardless of which ordinance we follow, the important thing is that it isn’t
allowed to be in our resort,” Meehan said.

City Eyes Restrictions

On Grilling In Public

After concerns over an
abundance of grilling at the city’s Inlet parking lot were brought to light,
the council moved to pass stricter regulations on what is allowable in the town
of Ocean City.

On Monday night, the
first reading of a new ordinance that would require anyone who wants to grill
on city-owned parking lots to have a town issued permit to do so.

The existing town
ordinance already outlaws grilling or any open fire-related activity (bonfires,
etc) without a town issued permit, but according to City Solicitor Guy Ayres,
the new ordinance that will be voted on Monday at City Hall, will just add
public parking lots to the verbiage and exempt a few other items.

“As per the
conversations on Tuesday, I will write in exemptions from authorized grilling
stations on public property that are allowable,” said Ayres.

Simply put, places like
Northside Park, which have built-in grilling stations, will still be allowable
without a permit for private use, but if someone wants to park in the Inlet lot
and have a makeshift tailgate party, the town issued permit will be required.
Over the course of recent summers, day-trippers have reportedly been having
miniature tailgate parties by their vehicles featuring charcoal and gas grills,
among other things.

“I think the biggest
concern was the Inlet parking lot, and what was happening down there, said
Council President Joe Mitrecic. “We don’t want to make people have to go get a
permit every time they want to cook a hot dog.”

City Hall Lot Becomes

A Revenue Source

The first week of
Cale-pay parking fees at City Hall has come and gone in Ocean City, and town
officials say that there have been few complaints and a number of users.

Despite being known by
locals as one of the free spots to park in downtown Ocean City over the years,
the council voted several weeks ago to charge a $1 an hour fee for parking post
5pm during the week, and all day and night on the weekends.

Although there is no
real estimation on how much revenue the change will add to the town’s bottom
line, town officials said this week that the lot is being utilized by visitors
and revenue is coming in, with little opposition.

The change, which was
pitched by Councilwoman Mary Knight, was, in part, a way for the council to
make up for lost revenue in their attempt to install parking meters on 146th
Street, which was estimated at bringing in roughly $38,000 annually.

Residents and property
owners on 146th Street sent a barrage of complaints and expressed
their disdain for the idea publicly last month, which caused the council to
change their parking strategy.

City officials also
noted that attendees of evening meetings at City Hall would be given a free
parking token on the day of the meeting.