Ocean City Enacts 90-Day Scooter Moratorium

OCEAN CITY – In the next 90 days, no new scooter rental businesses will be coming to town as the mayor has signed emergency legislation enacting a moratorium.

A few weeks ago, City Council member concerns were brought up during a meeting over scooter rental operations and whether more controls are needed in issuing scooter business licenses.

Last week Planning and Community Development Director Jesse Houston recommended transferring the issue into the hands of the Planning and Zoning Commission to come up with conditional uses for scooter rental businesses to get a better handle on safety issues. The City Council would have the authority of approval over a conditional use recommended by the commission.

This week an emergency ordinance was set in place by a vote of 5-1, with Councilman Joe Hall opposed, to impose a moratorium on business licenses for certain motorized vehicles that are not state registered. A public hearing before the Planning and Zoning Commission has been scheduled for Feb. 22.

The 90-day moratorium will put a halt to the issuance of business licenses associated with the rental or sale of motorized vehicles, such as scooters, scoot-coupes and other names commonly associated with vehicles with a purported capacity of 50cc or less, until the Mayor and City Council approve the Planning and Zoning Commission’s recommended conditional use for scooter rental businesses.

The ordinance states, “there has been a proliferation of motorized vehicles, which are not required by State, for rental within the corporate limits of Ocean City, and these motorized vehicles are variously  known as scooters, scoot-coupes, and other names commonly associated with vehicles with a purported capacity of 50cc or less, so as to not require State vehicle registration, and the Mayor and City Council of Ocean City has determined that the proliferation of these vehicles on the streets and roadways within the town create a safety issue as no training in the use and operation thereof is mandated.”

Councilwoman Margaret Pillas wanted to assure the public current businesses will not be impacted by the moratorium.

“The people that hold a license right now this does not affect them,” Councilwoman Margaret Pillas siad. “This just stabilizes the situation and prevents new owners from coming in and starting a business knowing that we are going to change some of the regulations and put regulations together for safety reasons.”