Council Green Lights Off-Season Carriage Rides

OCEAN CITY – Horse and carriage rides are in the clear to be provided downtown during the off-season.

Public Works Director Hal Adkins updated the Mayor and City Council on the proposed horse and carriage rides on the Boardwalk that was brought up back in May by Randy Davis of R and B Ranch located in Salisbury.

At that time, the council voiced several concerns and Adkins and Davis returned this week with responses.

Davis has proposed to provide horse and carriage rides downtown during the off-season, similar to the service he currently provides in Berlin. There are two routes being proposed, the general and holiday route.

Adkins explained that the general route would start in the vicinity of the Inlet parking lot moving south to the tram station where it will hook around and go west on South First Street. Once reaching Baltimore Ave., the carriage will head north along Baltimore Avenue in the right hand lane until reaching Dorchester Street. It will then head east on Dorchester Street, across the wooden Boardwalk onto the concrete portion of the Boardwalk and head south. When reaching the pier, it will head east along the tram lane, out and around the east end of the pier and then return to the point of origination at the comfort station.

This route will run from Oct. 19 to April 14.

The holiday route was worked out between the Downtown Association and Davis where horse and carriage rides will be tied into the new downtown holiday light effort that will commence in the upcoming holiday season.

The route during the holidays will be tweaking, starting at Sunset Park, heading south on Philadelphia Avenue to South First Street. The carriage will then head east on South First Street until reaching the intersection of Baltimore Ave. where it will turn and head north in the right lane until reaching Somerset Street. The carriage would then head west on Somerset Street until reaching Philadelphia Ave. where it would then head south to the point of origination at Sunset Park. That route will run from Nov. 24 through mid-December.

According to Adkins, the State Highway Administration (SHA) has been involved in planning for the horse and carriage rides. The SHA has indicated that there is no problem with either routes, but Davis will have to apply for a special permit from them.

The council had questioned under what business license category horse and carriage rides would fall under. Adkins replied that there is not a specific category for the service. Therefore, it would fall under “Any other business”, which is an annual cost of $174.

Adkins furthered that the horse and carriage rides would not conflict with the final phase of the Boardwalk reconstruction that will be occurring in the upcoming months. The construction will be taking place from Somerset Street moving north, starting around Nov. 12, and the boards that are removed in a day are replaced in the same day.

Adkins concluded that if the council moves forward in allowing the horse and carriage rides it would have to consider the requirement of revenue sharing and allowing advertising on the carriage, which it currently does in Berlin.

The council agreed to allow Ocean City advertising on the carriage as well as advertising to promote special events. The council voted unanimously to approve horse and carriage rides in the downtown area.