Council Seeks Middle Ground With Street Performers

OCEAN CITY — The City Council is trying to find a compromise regarding the ongoing debate over street performers and their presence on the Boardwalk this summer.

Council President Jim Hall said that some “loop holes” have been found concerning the ordinance that needs to be addressed by the city’s attorney.

The Boardwalk performer licenses were scheduled to expire on Monday at midnight, but Jim Hall suggested the council to extend the present system another 30 days so issues could be worked out and a compromise could be formed with the Boardwalk performers.

Past discussions have left a group of Boardwalk performers unsettled with the new ordinance restricting where they can set up, and they have pledged to boycott applying for permits to perform on the Boardwalk over concerns of First Amendment violations.

Mayor Rick Meehan said the council should meet with the street performers as well as members of the Boardwalk Development Association, the police department and City Clerk Kathy Mathias.

“Have a meeting and not to drive our stakes into the ground but to try to see where we can come to some kind of an agreement and we can try to make this work for everybody,” he said.

The council voted unanimously to approve a 30-day extension and to plan a meeting to come to an agreement with Boardwalk performers.

Councilwoman Margaret Pillas was still concerned with the street performer locations on N. Division Street where the public safety access is located to access emergency’s on the beach. She made a motion to have no permits made accessible to locations on N. Division Street during the 30-day extension.

The council voted 6-1 to approve the motion, with Councilman Brent Ashley in opposition.