Dewey Increases Public Urination Fine; Ocean City To Evaluate Code

OCEAN CITY – Following in Dewey Beach’s footsteps, Ocean City will re-evaluate its fines associated with public urination to help enhance decency in Ocean City.
At the conclusion of a Police Commission report during this week’s Mayor and City Council meeting, Councilman Brent Ashley questioned Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) Chief Ross Buzzuro over Ocean City’s policy regarding public urination. Ashley had learned earlier that day the neighboring community of Dewey Beach had announced it was upping the ante on the civil violation.
Last week, Dewey Beach Town Council voted to increase the public urination fine from $85 to $200. According to Dewey Beach Police Sgt. Cliff Dempsey, public urination is one of the town’s top nuisance crimes and the hope is with a higher fine the act will decline.
“The Town of Dewey has increased their fines for public urination … and their comment was, “we don’t need our town to be a bathroom.” I was just wondering how prevalent this is for Ocean City. I know where I live we don’t even have to water our bushes in the summer. Is this something maybe we should be looking at as a having more decency in the town?,” Ashley asked.
Buzzuro responded the offense is much more common in the summer season and is approached by either a citizen initiated call for service or the person is found by an officer urinating in an area open to the public.
“If it is an affecting of life type of situation in or around the Boardwalk, or in an open area, that is something that could be serious,” Buzzuro said. “We could certainly take another look at that as we get closer to the season. Take a look at how our fines are, how we are handling that and see if there is room for improvement.”
Ocean City’s code states, “It shall be unlawful for any person to urinate or defecate on, from or upon any beach, public way, public street, public alley, public sidewalk, public boardwalk, public lot, public building and any other public property, except within proper facilities designated as public restrooms, within the corporate limits of Ocean City, Maryland.”
According to OCPD, if someone violates that law in police presence, it is a $25 citation. The citizen does not have to appear in court as long as the fine is paid in at least the normal 15 days.