Everything sounds good from the motorized task force in Ocean City, but we have all learned time will tell. There is reason for optimism, however.
All indications are the pop-up car rally (the new term because associating it with the former H2Oi event is irresponsible) will be a major problem again at the end of September.
It’s realistic to expect the thousands of vehicles and lewd owners and passengers to crowd Ocean City like they have every year. We don’t see the current health pandemic having any impact on this lot of characters. They will come to Ocean City intent on raising hell and disrespecting our resort town and properties. We will most likely see a rise in local infections as a result, but most of these people come from outside the area.
The good news is the police force in Ocean City and the allied agencies understand well the pandemic will not deter them and have been preparing on a two-track front – one involving toughening current statewide legislation and the other centered on municipal amendments.
The goal is to drive these miscreants out of Ocean City by making it as uncomfortable as possible for them. This is really Ocean City’s only option. The only surefire way to make the resort unappealing for these car enthusiasts is changing the easy cruising available on Coastal Highway. The motorists love the straight, multi-lane setup of the main strip because it provides them 10 miles and a lot of room to race and spin out.
One of the most exciting changes we heard discussed last week involved the impounding of vehicles. The Ocean City Mayor and Council is expected to be presented with multiple amendments to the town’s current towing ordinance. A change is proposed to require vehicles impounded during the motorized special events to require an approved tow company upon release.
In the event a violator has his or her vehicle impounded for infractions, the motorist will need a licensed tow company to remove it from the impound lot, requiring two towing fees essentially. Currently, a tow company is not needed to check out an impounded vehicle. This is a major tweak, one that will hit the perpetrators hard in expanding the time their vehicles will be impounded as well as costing them more money.
“When you start to affect them with impounding, some of the bad behavior will take care of itself,” said OC Police Chief Ross Buzzuro. “An impounded vehicle has to be released to a tow company. They will have to pay for the initial tow, then they will have to pay to get it out of the impound lot. It can get quite expensive.”
We like this new approach because it provides a double hardship for the worst offenders. The message will get out quickly because it’s tough and will be a major inconvenience. We are still in the tough talk phase at this point, but we like the direction and feel more confident in these new changes than in years past.