On Monday evening, Councilman Brent Ashley asked for a future discussion regarding what is referred to as the “Droopy Pants Ordinance.”
“This past Wednesday the City of Wildwood passed an ordinance establishing decency standards on the Boardwalk,” Ashley said. “I have had many calls from the media, businesses and residents about this ordinance … and I would like to request that we have a discussion about this type of an ordinance at a work session to see what may or might not work for Ocean City along those same lines.”
The Mayor and City Council agreed to schedule the matter during a work session on July 9. In the meantime, the council will be receiving input from other city and tourism officials, such as the Chamber of Commerce and City Solicitor Guy Ayres.
This is not the first time Ashley has brought up the subject of imposing a dress code of sorts on Ocean City’s Boardwalk. In September of 2011, Ashley presented research he had conducted finding a number of municipalities that do not allow pants any longer than three inches from the tops of the hips exposing skin or undergarments. He used Fort Worth Texas, as an example, which doesn’t allow people who wear pants below the waist to ride the city’s buses.
Ashley was not able to find a municipality in Maryland that had banned sagging pants. He said that Baltimore had talked about a policy but never went through with it.
“To me this is about decency and respect on the Boardwalk,” Ashley said at that time. “I don’t think small children should be exposed to people’s behinds … I was thinking we could make Ocean City basically the first crack free city in Maryland.”
Last week, Wildwood, N.J., established an ordinance outlawing baggy pants on its Boardwalk. The resort’s ordinance states, “The waist-band of shorts, swim-trunks, pants and/or skirt shall not be worn more than 3 inches below the wearer’s waist, interpreted to mean at a level below the crest of the ilium, so as to expose either skin or garment underneath.”
The ordinance continues, “the City of Wildwood has received numerous complaints from residents and visitors who frequent the City’s Boardwalk and consider certain dress, or lack-there-of, of a certain proportion of persons on the Boardwalk as offensive, indecent and alarming to themselves and their children … the City of Wildwood markets its Boardwalk as a family friendly environment with its residents and businesses relying heavily upon the tourism industry…”
Wildwood’s ordinance even requires people to wear shoes and shirts on the Boardwalk, meaning no bathing suits allowed. A citation for not less than $25 can be given to violators with subsequent offenses resulting in higher citation amounts.
Last Thursday The Dispatch posted the upcoming matter on its Facebook page and received mixed reviews as it became obvious outlawing baggy pants is a divisive issue.
A majority of the 100-plus responses were in favor of having the Mayor and City Council follow through with setting an ordinance to ban low hanging pants simply due to the fact that no one wants to look at body parts being exposed, as well as it would help minimize the bad behavior associated with those who choose to wear their clothing in that manner. Those in opposition opined sagging pants was a fashion statement and a person’s right to wear their clothing as they so choose.