Ocean City News In Brief

OCEAN CITY – Due to a cancelation and a “skip week” the Mayor and City Council have not met in a couple of weeks. In order to catch up, their agenda was a bit lengthy this week. The following items were discussed:

Additional Motorcycle Parking OK’d For Event

Permission was granted for a street closure at the De Lazy Lizard on 1st Street from Thursday, Sept. 15 through Sunday, Sept. 18, for motorcycle parking. Parking meter regulations will remain in effect.

According to Wayne Odachowski of De Lazy Lizard, the same request was granted last year. He added that De Lazy Lizard’s gravel parking lot is not conducive in parking motorcycles leaning on a kick-stand and because Bike Week is a good time for business the request is to provide appropriate parking for motorcycles.

Sanitary Sewer Overflow Enforced

According to Chief Deputy Director of Public Works Jim Parsons, the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) has implemented an enforcement initiative that establishes an automatic penalty for all sewage overflows.

A Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO) can be experienced due to a variety of reasons, such as a collapsed pipe, grease blockage, physical obstruction or a tree root. Most incidents are beyond the town’s ability to prevent but fortunately there are rare incidents.

Between Jan. 1, 2010, and March 31, 2011, Ocean City dealt with five small SSO’s. The MDE assessed a penalty for those events in the total amount of $4,000, which is $800 each.

U Parsons recommended a policy that will allow the city manager to authorize payment as settlement of any future SSO penalties.

The Mayor and City Council voted unanimously to approve the payment of $4,000 to the Maryland Clean Water Fund and an establishment of a policy to enable the city manager to authorize payment of up to $10,000 to settle any future MDE penalties that result from SSOs.

Waster Master Plan Update

This week Parsons also requested to have two engineering services proposals performed, a water master plan update and a wastewater facility assessment project. Each of the projects is set in the fiscal year 2012 Budget.

According to Parsons, it is important that water and wastewater master planning/facility assessment efforts are conducted every five years in order to ensure the successful operations of the town’s infrastructure. The findings are used to assess past performance and identify issues such as needed future improvements, capacity expansion and modernization projects.

The Mayor and City Council voted unanimously to approve both proposals in order to gather information through the assessment and planning efforts to form the basis for the city’s future capital project plans and operations in the water and wastewater utilities.

Utility Expansion Approved

A couple of weeks ago, the Planning and Zoning Commission sent forward a favorable recommendation to the Mayor and City Council to allow public utilities as conditional use in the R-2A District in north Ocean City.

The council’s unanimous approval is to allow the procedure for Delmarva Power and Light Utility Company (DP&L) to expand into residential territory in order to provide enough energy to meet the area’s demand.

The electric substation is located between 136th and 137th streets. Four houses will be bought by DP&L in order to build the expansion. The Mayor and City Council’s approval sends the movement toward a public hearing where residents will be able to speak out about the project.

Fire Marshal Selection Amended

Fire Marshal/Deputy Chief S.E. Villani Jr. will be retiring after 35 and half years of service to the town in October. This week Fire Chief Chris Larmore said prompt action is necessary to find his replacement.

According to Larmore, in planning to fill the Fire Marshal’s position, the current code allows the Fire Prevention Commission to submit recommended names for the position to the mayor for appointment and voted on by the council.

During the last few years, Larmore have has made numerous progressive changes in updating and consolidating the three divisions of Ocean City Volunteer Fire Company, Fire/EMS and the Office of the Fire Marshal, which are under one organizational structure of the Ocean City Fire Department. He added that the selected process for the position of fire marshal is one topic he has yet to address.

Laramore said the current code concerning the selection of the fire marshal contradicts the progress made in the last three years in organizing the department and the intentions of the city.

The council voted unanimously to approve Larmore’s request to modify the code so that the fire marshal would fall under the same structure that the Mayor and City Council approved three years ago in which the selection of the fire marshal would fall under the fire chief, city manager and the Mayor and City Council.