OC’s Disturbing Peace Sign Effort Growing

OCEAN CITY – Officials in Ocean City are making an effort to ensure business owners place signs that warn of disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace laws prior to the resort’s fall events.

The efforts are part of an ordinance that requires businesses that front major arteries in the resort, including Coastal Highway, Philadelphia Avenue and Baltimore Avenue, to install signs warning residents and visitors of state laws against disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace and the enforcement of such laws.

The town passed the ordinance in 2015 in an effort to suppress illegal activity at vehicle-related special events, but enforcement measures fell by the wayside until this year.

Since July, the town has made an effort to enforce the longstanding ordinance.

In a Police Commission meeting Wednesday, Ocean City Police Chief Ross Buzzuro relayed ongoing efforts to install the signs. He said the town has distributed 186 signs to 122 properties.

“We do have 56 other property owners that have come forward to retrieve a sign,” he said.

With the additional 56 signs, Buzzuro said the town will have distributed more than 240 signs. He explained, however, that the resort still had hundreds of remaining properties that have not retrieved a sign.

“That’s what we are at,” he said. “We are moving along. It’s up from the last time we met.”

Mayor Rick Meehan said the town had many more businesses and property owners to reach.

“A lot of the signs I know are smaller properties … We just need to keep working on it,” he said.

Meehan supported the idea of sending another letter to businesses.

“We want compliance,” he said.

Councilman Dennis Dare, chair of the commission, stressed the importance of installing the signs in a timely manner and asked about other enforcement measures.

“Would it be possible to have officers … go around to the businesses?” he said.

Buzzuro said the coming weeks would be busy for the police department as officers prepare for shoulder season events, such as H2Oi, Endless Summer Cruisin’ and Sunfest.

“I just have a time problem … All these types of things are intensive,” he said.

Buzzuro explained the town was prioritizing the distribution of signs to properties with a history of issues.

“We are doing this deliberately as we move forward,” he said.

Meehan suggested the police department reach out to businesses during routine business checks.

“We want people to follow this and understand the reason for it,” he said.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.