Fall Cruisin’ Event Granted Extension After Law Changes Included In Agreement

OCEAN CITY — A three-year extension for the fall Endless Summer Cruisin’ was approved this week after updating the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) reflecting the changes made since the event was last held.

The Mayor and Council on Monday approved a request to extend the Endless Summer Cruisin’ event through October 2018. The event was approved unanimously after the MOU between the town and the event’s promoter was updated to include changes to the ordinances and codes specific to vehicle-related events.

Naturally, when a narrow 10-mile barrier island hosts thousands of classic cars, or motorcycles or hot rods of all shapes and sizes for that matter, there inevitably comes traffic jams, parking problems, noise, trash and other illicit behavior. After a particularly troubling spring Cruisin’ event last year, the Mayor and Council considered a variety of somewhat draconian ordinance changes including expanding the OCPD’s ability to enforce open container and public consumption laws on certain private property including parking lots of shopping centers, hotels and motels and restaurants for example.

A second proposed ordinance would have addressed some of the issues with crowds gathering along the highways during the special events, outlining the destructive use of landscaped areas along the highway. The proposed ordinance change would have held accountable those who caused the damage as well as the property owners who encouraged the activity or at least did not try to prevent it.

After considerable debate, both of the proposed ordinance changes were scrapped in favor of a softer approach. Cognizant of the economic importance of special events such as Endless Summer Cruisin, for example, and the need to strike a balance for the quality of life for residents and non-participants, the Mayor and Council instead opted for a different approach encouraging the OCPD and its allied law enforcement agencies to strictly enforce the laws already on the books regarding disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace complete with signs giving potential offenders fair notice the laws will be strongly followed.

Perhaps more concrete and less nebulous, the Mayor and Council passed an ordinance limiting the parking of trailers and oversized vehicles on city streets. Under the ordinance, only registered participants will be allowed to park trailers on certain streets during the events excluding Baltimore Ave. Registered participants will have to purchase a permit and sticker to park on certain public streets. Those not registered for the special events would not be allowed to park trailers and oversized vehicles on city streets and will have to make other arrangements.

Special Events Coordinator Lisa Mitchell told the Mayor and Council on Monday about special plans for the four-day Endless Summer Cruisin’ event to be held on Oct. 4-7, 2018. The event includes a Boardwalk parade and other special events in and around the Inlet lot along with other sanctioned events at the Convention Center. Mitchell said the promoter was requesting an additional event for 2018.

“The event wants to hold a static neon light car event on the south end of the Boardwalk,” she said. “The city staff was not in favor of providing a vehicular display in pedestrian traffic areas on the Boardwalk and said they preferred the new event be held on one of the side streets. We’re working with the promoter to come up with an alternative location.”

Councilmember Mary Knight made a motion to approve the fall Cruisin’ special event extension with the caveat an appropriate location for the new addition to the event was found. The motion was approved unanimously.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.