Ocean City Boardwalk Performers Win Case Against Town Ordinance - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Ocean City Boardwalk Performers Win Case Against Town Ordinance

Posted: May 11, 2018 10:34 PM Updated:

OCEAN CITY, Md. - Eleven boardwalk performers went against the town of Ocean City to abolish a town ordinance's restrictions.  And they won, according to court documents. 

A federal judge ruled on Wednesday that the majority of the challenged restrictions were to be immediately revoked from Ordinance 62, according to the performer's attorney David Wright. Wright says the restrictions were ruled unconstitutional in violation of the First Amendment. 

The only restrictions that were challenged and upheld in the ordinance were, performers cannot entertain past 1 a.m.; no performances can be held on North Division or Dorchester streets due to the emergency vehicle routes; and no equipment can exceed six feet tall. 

Musician Don Bloom says he has no problem with the rules that were kept, he's simply happy to be able to play his guitar wherever and whenever he wants to now. 

"They kept moving us around, we had to register a week in advance and for people that are new to town, they come to town and they can't play that week," Bloom said. 

Bloom says sometimes he was confined to a 5x5 foot perimeter and couldn't maintain a following by moving around.

Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan says the ordinance was created a few years ago to not only protect the performers, but public safety.

"We felt that the ordinance that was adopted was fair and preserved the first amendment rights of the street performers and it also helped address some of the congestion problems we were experiencing on the boardwalk," Meehan said. 

He says this summer officials will be doing extra patrols to make sure the crowds are safe. 

"Our hope is that it continues to move smoothly, we know that we'll now be faced with some additional issues with regard to crowd control," Meehan said.

No word yet as to if either side plans to appeal the judge's decision on the ruling. 

 

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