O. C. Approves Cars on the Beach, Awaits State Approval - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

O.C. Approves Cars on the Beach, Awaits State Approval

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OCEAN CITY, Md.- The coast along Ocean City will soon look something like a parking lot. A proposal that would allow surf fishermen to drive right up to the ocean got the green light from the Ocean City Mayor and Council on Tuesday afternoon.

Starting this fall, Captain Skip, of Ocean City, and other surf fishermen will be allowed on the beach from 27th Street to 94th Street, running from Nov. 1 to March 31.

"We've been trying to get that done here for years and years," said Skip. "Assateague has been crowded for years with surf fishermen, and times they can't get on the beach to fish."

Town officials hope to generate new revenue by luring fishermen from Assateague Island to Ocean City.

"We have budget issues, so stimulating the economy any way we can, helps both the business community and the city," said Town Councilman Dennis Dare.

But there are some concerns. Ocean City police worry about oil spills, dune damage and pedestrian safety. Despite the concerns, town leaders will move forward and test the waters with this new pilot program.

"As far as environmental spills, if it has been a problem at Assateague, or other national parks [ that allow surf fishermen to drive up onto the sand], then they would have banned it a long time ago," Dennis said.

The resort town maintains the beach, but the state of Maryland owns the beach. So the Maryland Department of Natural Resources will weigh in. The agency must also give the program the OK, according to Dennis. 

"If it [drivers on the beach] becomes a problem, we will stop it," said Dennis, before adding, "it's just a trial."

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