Ocean City Today

City sighs on sign delivery

OC police too busy with events to deliver ‘behavior’ signs; hundreds yet to sign up
By Katie Tabeling | Sep 14, 2017

(Sept. 15, 2017) Even though the deadline has come and gone for Ocean City property owners to post signs warning people that disturbing the peace is illegal, resort officials have opted to send one final warning before writing tickets.

Chief Ross Buzzuro reported to the Police Commission that 186 of the free signs were distributed to 122 properties in August. The signs are required for any property that has “public places” with parking fronting Baltimore Avenue, Philadelphia Avenue or Coastal Highway. Ocean City Police need to approve the sign’s location.

Another 56 property owners requested a disorderly conduct sign from OCPD’s records department last month, but Buzzuro explained that officers were tackling them as soon as possible.

“We have a time problem, since the next four weekends we’ll be busy with Bikefest, Sunfest, fall cruisin’ and H2Oi,” Buzzuro said during Wednesday’s Police Commission meeting. “Those events are very man-power intensive. We can look through the 56 properties and if we see any properties that historically have issues, we’ll put them up first. If there’s places with no issues, they’ll be put at the bottom of the pile.”

He added that he was “optimistic” the signs for the 56 properties would be up by Oct. 10.

Even so, that leaves 415 properties that have not requested signs. Mayor Rick Meehan thought that a majority of these property owners were unaware they were affected, rather than flouting the local law.

“It’s a long way to go, but I know that most of those properties are small businesses and probably still don’t realize they’re in the zone where they need the sign,” he said. “We just need to send the message out … we want compliance, and the more people buy into the reason for the sign, the better communication we have between the police department and the public.”

The ordinance mandating the signs was passed in 2015 with the intent to give police another tool address rowdy visitors that come for the car events.

State law already empowers police to arrest anyone for disturbing the peace in a public place, which includes, under the law, publicly accessible areas of private property.

Meehan and the Police Commission agreed to issue warning letters to the remaining 415 property owners before proceeding with issuing fines. Non-compliant property owners would be fined $50, and face a $100 fine if they do not comply in 10 days.

To coordinate sign delivery and scheduling a meeting to approve its location, contact Ocean City Police Department Records Section Manager Michelle Monico at 410-723-6608 or MMonico@oceancitymd.gov.

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