Ocean City —
Voters will go to the polls on Tuesday, May 8 and cast their ballots for ward council representatives and to decide the contentious issue of whether to allow Bring Your Own Bottle (BYOB) in this dry seashore community.
Besides ward council representatives, voters will vote on a public referendum accepting an ordinance allowing restaurant patrons to bring only wine and malt liquor beverages to qualified retail dining establishments between 2 p.m. and 11 p.m.
Qualified retail dining establishments, according to the ordinance, are licensed by the Health Department for the sale of food, employs a wait staff of at least one waiter, has tables with table coverings and whose staff are not confined to a counter.
The new ordinance omits the Boardwalk as a possible location for allowing BYOB.
The push for – and against – BYOB created factions on both sides in the form of two political action committees.
Friends of Shop, Dine and Play in Ocean City was formed to promote the BYOB initiative. According to the group’s website, www.sdpoc.bbnow.org, allowing BYOB would provide a shot in the arm to a beleaguered downtown and bring better quality restaurants to Ocean City.
Friends of Shop, Dine and Play in Ocean City will hold an informational meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 2, at the residence of Jane Custer, 3843 Central Ave.
The Committee to Preserve Ocean City opposes the BYOB initiative, believing allowing booze in restaurants would create a “slippery slope” to eventual liquor licenses. The group’s website, www.nobyob.com, contains information on the anti-BYOB platform.
Three of the four incumbent ward councilpersons are not running for re-election, giving voters the opportunity to have fresh faces on council when the local governing body reconvenes July 1.
Four, four-year terms on the seven-member council are up for grabs this year, and nine candidates are vying for those coveted spots.
Candidates in Ocean City’s nonpartisan elections are as follows, according to ward:
First Ward (from the Longport Bridge to the north side of 4th Street)
Second Ward (south side of 4th Street to the north side of 12th Street)
Third Ward (south side of 12th Street to the northern side of 26th Street)
Tony Wilson (I)
Fourth Ward (south side of 26th Street to 59th Street)