Home Authors Posts by Donald Wittkowski
Cape May County Prosecutor Jeffrey Sutherland spent 90 minutes Saturday telling an audience of local residents about a series of county programs that are intended to prevent drug abuse, and, if it happens, how addicts can get help rather than simply being thrown in jail. “It’s just as important preventing it as it is arresting people,” Sutherland said during a Fourth Ward community meeting at the Ocean City Free Public Library.
Even as a rookie cop in Ocean City in 1995, Jay Prettyman had thoughts of one day becoming police chief. On Thursday night, he got his wish when City Council approved Mayor Jay Gillian’s appointment of the 48-year-old Prettyman to head the Ocean City Police Department. “It’s great. I feel I have been prepared most of my life for this,” Prettyman told reporters.
In a preemptive strike, Ocean City plans to ban the sale of marijuana in the family-friendly resort town as discussions continue among state lawmakers to legalize recreational pot smoking in New Jersey. Voting 7-0, City Council introduced an ordinance Thursday night that would prohibit “businesses which cultivate, manufacture, test or sell marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia.” The measure would ban marijuana facilities within one-quarter mile of a school, church, recreational or sports facility, the Boardwalk and any residential area. It would effectively outlaw businesses from selling marijuana or pot paraphernalia in all parts of town.
Over and over, the giant excavator operated by Scarborough Marine Group dipped its claw into the lagoon waters and scooped up gobs of gooey black muck. For all anyone knows, the mud-like sediment could have been lying at the bottom of the lagoon in front of the Harbor House Condominiums for a millennium, explained Sean Scarborough, owner of the dredging company. Thick sediment has been clogging Ocean City’s lagoons and channels along the back bays for years, but it is finally being removed one scoop at a time by Scarborough’s company and other dredging contractors.
Demolition has begun on two old buildings to create room for a proposed boutique hotel that its developer believes will be the first new hotel project in Ocean City in at least 20 years when it opens in 2020. Dubbed the North Island Inn, the hotel’s large, all-suite accommodations will allow the property to market itself to families that are taking extended summer vacations in Ocean City. “It’s going to usher in a new era of hotel rooms – modern hotel rooms catering to the families who come to Ocean City,” developer Christopher Glancey said in an interview Tuesday.
It is a railroad that leads to nowhere. There are no trains, no stations and no passengers. The ghostly remnants of railroad tracks that were abandoned years ago cut through the marshlands in the southern end of Ocean City for about two miles. Although train service is dead, there is a chance that the old railroad may be put to use again – this time as a barrier to protect homeowners from flooding in the south end of town.
The stately building at Moorlyn Terrace and the Boardwalk has become Ocean City’s cultural and entertainment center over the years with its array of concerts, beauty pageants and festivals. Now, the Music Pier, built in 1928, a year before the country was plunged into the Great Depression, is about to get some TLC to help keep the historic landmark in tip-top shape. City Council, meeting for the last time in 2018 on Thursday, approved an engineering contact for the design of a new roof at the Music Pier.
City Council gave final approval Thursday night to three ordinances that include major parts of Ocean City’s affordable housing program. More ordinances are still to come as the city works out the details for fulfilling a state constitutional mandate to provide its “fair share” of affordable housing for residents having low or moderate incomes. The ordinances adopted Thursday incorporate elements of a legal settlement, approved by the courts last August, laying out the city’s affordable housing plan through 2025.
Ocean City has a series of government boards, authorities and commissions that oversee everything from zoning, planning, the municipal airport, public housing, the library, tourism – and more. However, finding enough volunteers to fill all of those boards has become what one city councilman bluntly calls “a real problem.” City Council is taking steps to overcome the shortage of volunteers by introducing an ordinance that would repeal the term limits for the board and commission members.
Brayden Smith watched in fascination as the trains went round and round on tracks that passed through a miniature fantasy town of tiny people, quaint homes, schools, businesses and streets lined with snow-covered Christmas trees. “I like Santa in the caboose,” 4-year-old Brayden exclaimed when his father, Eric Smith, asked him to name his favorite part of the train display. Brayden wasn’t the only one who was captivated Saturday by the elaborate model railroad displays, many featuring holiday themes, at the Ocean City Train Show at the Music Pier, now in its 24th year.