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Former Ambassador Bill Hughes, calling on his diplomatic skills, urged both sides in the emotionally charged debate over Ocean City’s $9 million purchase of a large tract of land to resolve their differences to avoid a possible drawn-out court fight. Hughes threw his support behind the property deal during remarks Thursday night at a City Council meeting that once again highlighted differences between city officials and a local taxpayers group over the purchase.
A petition drive for a public referendum that would have given voters the final say on Ocean City’s $9 million purchase of a large tract of land failed to collect enough valid signatures, the city clerk ruled Wednesday. However, the group that organized the petition drive disputed the clerk’s findings and said it will refer the matter to its attorneys for a possible court fight to keep the referendum effort alive.
Ocean City’s beach tag sales for 2018 were much like the summer weather – erratic, full of surprises and somewhat disappointing. Mixing humor with some stark statistics, Frank Donato, the city’s chief financial officer, called beach tag sales “a story of the good, the bad and the trending.” Overall, beach tag revenue came in at $3,936,000, falling short of the $4 million-plus mark in each of the previous four years, Donato reported. The city’s all-time high of nearly $4.2 million in revenue was set in 2015.
Ocean City’s proposed $9 million purchase of nearly a block of property “makes perfect sense” and must be completed before the opportunity is lost for the public’s benefit, according to a prominent local developer. The strategically located land would connect Emil Palmer Park, the Ocean City Community Center and other facilities already owned by the city in a public corridor stretching from 15th to 20th streets, Sean Scarborough said. “This affords synergistic planning opportunities for decades to come. The assembled property is worth more than the sum of its parts,” said Scarborough, an Ocean City resident and owner of Scarborough Properties, a commercial and residential development company.
Fallout from Ocean City’s proposed $9 million purchase of property that would be protected from high-density housing construction has embroiled Mayor Jay Gillian and a commercial real estate developer in a testy exchange of words. Developer John Flood, a former city councilman who lost to Gillian in last May’s mayoral election, is accusing the city of exaggerating the possibility that the land may be used as a site for “coastal cottages,” a type of housing that would be tightly packed together in one location. Gillian fired back Tuesday afternoon with his own statement, saying that the court order does exist and that Flood has gotten the issue wrong.
Mayor Jay Gillian gave a spirited defense in favor of Ocean City’s proposed $9 million purchase of a large piece of property that would be protected from high-density housing, but he acknowledged the deal is threatened by a petition drive for a public referendum. Speaking at a City Council meeting Thursday night, Gillian said the transaction offers the city the rare opportunity to acquire strategically located land that could be preserved as open space or possibly serve as the site for a new police station.
Ocean City’s public housing agency faces a pivotal – and expensive – decision whether to build an even larger expansion project to replace its flood-prone Pecks Beach Village housing complex for senior citizens. During the Ocean City Housing Authority’s monthly board meeting on Tuesday, it became clear just how easily the area can flood. Torrential rain from the remnants of once-Hurricane Florence left knee-deep storm water Tuesday evening on Fourth Street in front of Pecks Beach Village as well as the housing authority’s administrative office across the street.
More than 450 Corvettes will take over the Ocean City Boardwalk on Sunday, Sept. 23, from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The annual Corvette Show includes a range of models dating back to Corvette’s first in 1953 and extending to the present. The 10th annual Walk for the Wounded will be held Saturday, Sept. 22, on the Boardwalk. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. in front of the Music Pier. A ceremony honoring soldiers is at 9:30 a.m., and the walk begins at 10 a.m. The entire extended Ocean City community has always come out in full support of this important fundraising event.
Ocean City Beach Patrol will have lifeguards at six beaches until Sept. 23 and then will close out the summer season. They include: St. Charles Place, Brighton Place, 8th Street, 9th Street, 12th Street and 34th Street.