OCEAN CITY — City Council was mute Thursday night on a proposal that would have limited people from playing music on the Boardwalk, ensuring that the performers can play on for now.
The proposed ordinance was controversial in the community, even though other shore towns have similar laws requiring either permits or prohibiting musicians from playing on their boardwalks all together.
Ocean City has been historically lax on such activity, but police recently recommended a law that would require a permit for soliciting or accepting anything of value for playing. They said the primary problem was that it was causing congestion on the walkway when people gathered around performers.
The public hearing and vote on the ordinance was supposed to be held at Thursday’s council meeting, but, in an unusual move, none of the five councilmen who could make a motion to hear and discuss the ordinance did so.
As a point of procedure, the failure to introduce the measure on second reading meant the ordinance failed. It would have to be reintroduced again at a later meeting for it to be heard again.
Normally, the council members would make a motion to at least discuss the ordinance, but since no one did, the meeting proceeded to the next ordinance.
Some members of the public were immediately confused, and after a pause, resident Georgina Shanley called out and asked what had just happened. Council President Michael Allegretto quickly told her that since there was no motion, the proposal would no longer be considered.
The move came after five people spoke against the ordinance to start the meeting. Many others in the community had voiced their concerns about the proposal in the two weeks since its introduction, saying it would unnecessarily deter musicians from playing.
“This is America’s Greatest Family Resort, and putting a damper on musicians is going to put a damper on that name,” said resident Ethan Pusey, who added he often performs on the Boardwalk.
“I don’t think it merits any sort of ordinance,” said resident Lorena Geary. “The musicians inspire the population and the community.”
Pusey also doubted that congestion was a genuine problem, saying it seemed like “another reason to harass us, basically.”
At the end of the meeting, a couple of people thanked City Council for not moving on the ordinance. Shanley suggested organizing a meeting between the police chief and local youth to discuss any issues.
“We really need the young people,” she said. “We need the balance of the young people in this community.”
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