Ocean City looks to enforcement, rather than rental ban

(Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore…)
September 04, 2014|By Natalie Sherman

Ocean City will look to better enforcement to cut down on problems with rowdy visitors instead of a ban on short-term rentals, according to a city official.

The vacation destination had been considering adding regulations to govern some rental properties in response to complaints from some residents, but members of the planning and zoning commission backed away from the idea Wednesday, said Blaine Smith, the assistant director of the city's Planning and Zoning Department.

“They don’t think there needs to be new regulation. We just need to enforce the ones we have,” Smith said. Better enforcement would apply to all neighborhoods, not just the single-family and mobile home districts discussed previously, he added.

About 20 people attended Wednesday’s hearing where commissioners discussed changing the rules for short-term rentals, he said. Several hundred went to a meeting last month at which the public could speak about the proposal, he said.

Commission members plan to put together recommendations for how to improve enforcement and submit them to the mayor and city council in the next two weeks or so, Smith said.

Sheila Dodson, executive director of the Coastal Association of Realtors, which had opposed a change, said she is pleased with the outcome. The group hopes to be involved in coming up with the recommendations, she said.

“There are plenty of zoning regulations on the books and plenty of policy on the books, which is really what we felt all along. However, there can be better compliance and better enforcement,” she said. 

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