OCEAN CITY – The beaches this summer may start to look more like southern resorts as the Mayor and City Council approved this week beach equipment rental stands’ desire to rent out larger cabanas.
Sixteen of Ocean City’s beach equipment rental stands, located between the Inlet and 26th Street, have been recently auctioned and sold in three-year contracts.
According to City Clerk Kathy Mathias, each of the parcels sold for more than their bids made in 2007. The total annual revenue for the stands is $262,200, an increase of $68,110 annually.
Mathias approached the Mayor and City Council with a request from a beach stand operator, Jonathon Layton, to be permitted to rent large cabanas to beach patrons that measure out to be 87 inches wide and 58 inches high.
In 2009, the council had approved Layton’s request to provide smaller cabanas for rent that measure out to 59 inches wide and 44 inches high.
Councilwoman Margaret Pillas was concerned over the obstruction of view the larger cabanas would create for the lifeguards.
“They were out there last summer, the smaller ones,” Councilwoman Mary Knight said. “Honestly, they were so small that they didn’t do anybody any good.”
Knight said that she expected them to a be a lot larger, and after talking to the beach rental operators, she said that there was very few rentals.
Knight thought that by giving Layton the opportunity to rent out larger cabanas it would provide an experimental base to see how it goes this summer.
“I saw a lot of umbrella cities out there this summer, and I saw a lot of the actual tents that I think obstruct the view more so than this,” Knight said.
Since the council approved the smaller cabanas, the city ordinance concerning beach stands states operators are allowed to rent up to five small cabanas per block, provided that the cabana must be placed behind the west edge of the lifeguard stand.
Councilman Joe Hall said that if the council considered permitting larger cabanas the city should amend the ordinance to state the larger cabanas must be placed at least 50 feet from the west side of the lifeguard stand, allowing a mixture of small and large between the five cabanas permitted every block.
Knight set the motion and Joe Hall seconded it. The motion passed in a unanimous vote.
“And they could make a little more money,” Joe Hall said.