Voices From The Readers
Mark Calendars For OC Public Hearing
The question of 'How much growth?' comes at us again. This time from a different angle. At the Ocean City Council meeting on Aug. 6, five very well-dressed individuals, the owners, their attorney and their architect, came before the council to request an end to the stop work order placed on the Rivendell project on 81st Street.
They admitted at least three times that the building was at least five feet taller than called for by the plans. They also admitted - at least three times - that other changes (the shape of the building, the placement of the pool, the parking garage and the number of floors) had also been made. All of these without a request for a change in the plans. They called the changes 'minor.'
However, while the architect candidly admitted he was at fault, both he and one of the owners kept repeating '•€¦ the damage is done, don't us any more •€¦' The owners kept saying it would cost them a half-million to a million dollars to 'fix' the problem. Let us continue with the work, with the changes and we'll be all right. Lift the stop work order. Otherwise, 'it is more punitive than necessary.'
Thankfully, the council voted unanimously to continue the stop work order. However, they did suggest a get-together with owners of the condos next-door and public hearing on the matter. It will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 18 at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers. Let's be there.
Secondly, as almost knows, I have been opposed to this project from the very beginning. Why is a subject for another time, another letter. What concerns me now is the effrontery of the shakers and movers of the Rivendell project, a business situation, expecting the citizens of Ocean City to bear the burden of their errors. We have to obey the law. Apparently, they choose not to.
They admit they made a mistake. However, when you're in business - and 88 condo units where there were none before - the resulting traffic confusion is big business. You pay your money, you take your choice. Yes, it may cost money to fix. Yes, they admit to a mistake. Why should we ignore our laws? Why should we bear the responsibility? To the architect's credit, he admits his responsibility. There is an 'errors and commissions' insurance to cover such errors. Let these shakers and movers bear the burden of all their errors. Do what it takes to fix the problem, but accept the responsibility. If it's up to us, we have to obey our laws and regulations. Shouldn't they?
And our citizen's responsibility is to be there on Sept. 18 - whatever our opinion - and speak out.
Parking Spot For Lifeguards Pitched
(This letter was sent to The Dispatch and addressed to City Engineer Terry McGean.)
I wasn't exactly sure where to send this letter, but thought the City Engineer was a good place to start. As full-time residents of Ocean City, my wife and I have come to understand what an important function the Beach Patrol members provide.
It would be appreciated if Ocean City would consider providing a parking spot on each street where there is a lifeguard stand reserved strictly for lifeguards. This spot could be reserved for the lifeguards from Memorial Day thru Sunfest weekend from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Additionally, if there is a hotel on the oceanfront, the hotel could provide one on the street.
We have discussed this issue with other full-time residents and condo owners and all feel this is a reasonable request. We feel that the lifeguards should be given every consideration possible.
Your consideration of this matter would be greatly appreciated.
Bill and Glenda Rott
Guards Did Notify
In response to last week's letter, many of my friends, children and I were also on Assateague Beach Aug. 4. The lifeguard on his bullhorn did announce the oncoming storm. He advised everyone to leave the beach and said the beach patrol would be closing and leaving. Many people did leave. Maybe someone wasn't listening.
We go to Assateague National Park Beaches regularly. The guards there are very observant, helpful, friendly and respectful. If you feel they don't serve your needs, maybe you should go to the Ocean City beaches.
Thank you for reporting on the NRDC's 2006 Testing the Water's Report. However, regarding Shawn Soper's Aug. 10, 2007 article titled: 'Report: Ocean City, Assateague Water Quality Fine,' I would like to correct a statement your writer attributed to me, which I did not say in my press release or at any other time: 'In the longer term, Phillips called on local elected officials to take a more proactive role in weaning residents off private septic systems.'
To wean residents off private septic systems would imply to hook them up to a central sewer system, which I have never implied nor do I suggest this to the County Commissioners, or the citizens of Public Landing, as a solution. I did invite the County Commissioners to take a more pro-active role in solving the bacteria and nutrient issues at Public Landing and other areas in the county by aggressively finding available funding to help upgrade older septic systems.
I would appreciate a correction printed regarding this error.
(The writer is the Assateague Coastkeeper for the Assateague Coastal Trust.)
Taxpayer Money Not Used For Airport
My brother-in-law Linwood 'Blackie' Blackwell and I were the first operators of Ocean City Municipal Airport starting in 1959-60. It would have been impossible for us to see almost 50 years into the future and the expansion that has taken place in the area.
I've watched with interest all of the squabbling about the proposed expansion, some of which are valid in opposition, but I would like to make two points. One, we can't look ahead 50 years and know what we might need then that we would be passing up forever now if the expansion is not allowed. And, number two, I have not seen this anywhere in the articles but the cost of the expansion that the FAA contributes to is from a fund that is derived from taxes you pay when you fly commercially. If you are a taxpayer that does not fly, none of your money is used for airport expansion from the federal government.
My name is Aaron Wendell. I am 9 years old. I have been coming to Ocean City since I was two months old. I would like to comment on the Trimper's attractions in Ocean City.
Trimper's is one of the main attractions to Ocean City that brings in kids. Most families would normally come in to Ocean City because of their kids. Kids love to go to amusement, water and regular parks. If Trimper's went out of business, their competition, Jolly Roger, would be more crowded and no one would want to go there because they would have to wait too long.
Trimper's at the Boardwalk is one of the main attractions which brings people to the Boardwalk, and then they discover the other stores, restaurants, etc. So, if a family, for instance, is walking on the Boardwalk and they noticed, Dumser's or Piezano's, they might notice other restaurants and stores, too. So what I am trying to say is that Trimper's makes the other businesses at the Boardwalk successful.
The reason I like Trimper's is because, unlike the other amusement park on the Boardwalk, you don't have to be tall to ride most of the rides. My sister is 7 years old and today we went to the Boardwalk to play skeeball and ride some rides. We went to the pier first and my sister could not go on most of the rides, but when we went to Trimper's, she was able to go on a lot more rides.
I think that the city should start supporting and helping Trimper's to stay in business where they are. My point is that if Trimper's were to leave the Boardwalk that means that Ocean City would not be as inviting to families and lots of other people as well.
Gas Price Gouging?
In the past, I used to look forward to coming to Ocean City with a smile on my face. Not because I enjoy the ocean, Boardwalk or staying at our condo, but for the low gas prices. Fuel was always about 8 to 10 cents cheaper than at home in Baltimore and was always much cheaper still, then the stations in Delaware. This has been the case for quite a few years.
I believe it started in the spring. Fuel skyrocketed to over $3 per gallon. But I have to wonder why the prices in OC stayed higher longer. Are we getting played? Is it because it is the summer driving season?
I visit OC many times during the year and I returned to OC for about 10 days last week. The gas was $2.81 a gallon. When I left Sunday it was down to $2.76. During the week, I bought cheaper fuel in Fenwick Island.
And when I returned to Baltimore Sunday, the gas in my neighborhood was $2.63 per gallon. But wait, on the way home, in Bridgeville, the Royal Farm store was selling gas for $2.59 per gallon.
Are we being taken advantage of because it is summer? Maybe the station owners are thinking, the people need gas to return home, why not charge a little more.
My advice is to pay attention to the gas prices on the way down to OC. Then, when you return home, buy just enough, to get you to a place such as Bridgeville.
If we buy less, maybe we can send a message and the prices will return to 'OC' normal.
OCDC Should Pay
Since my presentation was not shown due to difficulties from channel 4, I am writing you from my notes used on March 13 at the work session. The City Council voted on five carts to be dispersed throughout Somerset Street rented by OCDC to Larry Pastasak and Richard Kudinia to sell crafts at $1,500 a cart and $200 for electricity, which is $15 day rent and $2 day for electric for 100 days, which fell through.
OCDC reached out to Island Cycle, not asking any of the merchants on the street to rent any carts. OCDC already hired imitators for Thursday night free entertainment and needed money to pay them.
After many attempts before the City Council. I had a petition signed by all five stores to remove the carts to defend our businesses. I was told by Mayor Rick Meehan with all due respect that the street was more important than the merchants; he was fed up with my antics of defending my business and fingered me out as a 'trouble maker' because I was trying to assist my pension and social security. We don't make much money on Somerset Street. It's wrong to try to bring people off the Boardwalk to have them distracted by the carts in right of way causing them to 'bypass' the stores paying $100 to $150 per day including overhead, license, insurance, rent, labor, advertising, phone, electric, maintenance and supplies. All of us would like carts but OCDC only allows three carts.
Two weeks ago, the council voted to keep carts to end of season knowing the carts are a disaster and do not want to give Island Cycle $20,000 to remove carts. The council is not concerned with the merchants who cannot make up losses for June and July at the council's expense. Entertainers are placed to help 'one' store primarily and that is the jewelry store because it's next to it and the carts. The solution to this problem is for OCDC to make a settlement with Island Cycles so we can at least recoup some of our losses.
Al 'Pop' Wendling'
Shame On Adults
As a 17-year-old, I am shocked on a daily basis by adults who should •€˜know better,' and teens that certainly should care more. Not to beat a dead horse that has been dead for years, and then maliciously beaten over and over again, but littering is not acceptable.
Smokers come in all facets; the tourists, your grandparents, your 16-year-old sister who isn't even old enough to be legally smoking yet. And I have personally seen them all guilty of flicking their butts out the car window. Additionally the butt that gets so carelessly discarded can take up to 15 years to break down. I refuse to believe that it is so difficult to invest in a makeshift ashtray.
My friends and I were personally saddened when we were visiting the geese at the pond near South Ocean Pines and found a goose with its beak trapped in a square of a plastic net screen. Thirty minutes of attempting to contact someone to help (all to no avail), and then 30 more of trying to lure the goose close enough to help proved futile. A unique despondency and frustration passed over us when we realized there was truly nothing we could do to relieve it.
Evaluate the pond closer and you will see a myriad of beer bottles, soda cans and random trash. Come on. There is no reason for people to be this lazy and plain gross.
The majority who do not litter so freely I applaud you sincerely. Those who go the extra step and recycle get applause and a pat on the back. Every year, each American throws out about 1,200 pounds of garbage that can be composted. The compassion for your children, your sisters, even the communities that will form 20 years from now should be taken into account. Citizens should simply be willing to help the Earth.
The next time you see trash, become part of the praiseworthy masses and throw it away. You'll feel satisfied, clichÃ© but true.