(June 14, 2019) On the brink of installing new cigarette “butt huts” at street ends west of the Boardwalk, the Ocean City Council approved final details this week concerning signs and receptacle placement to launch a campaign to recycle the planet’s most common form of litter.
City Manager Doug Miller said previous discussions of the downside of instituting a smoking ban on the Boardwalk in 2015 was an increased proliferation of discarded cigarettes on adjacent street ends.
Hoping to remedy the issue, Miller said the city’s “Green Team,” worked with the Maryland Coastal Bays Program to secure a $2,000 grant from the Worcester County Department of Health last November to finance the undertaking.
Public Works Director Hal Adkins said interim discussions have focused on instituting the plan without creating unintended consequences.
Adkins said of primary concern is inadvertently clogging sidewalk and ramp entrances to the Boardwalk with huddled tobacco consumers billowing smoke.
Adkins explained precise placement of butt receptacles has the added hurdle of varying layout scenarios for Boardwalk street ends from the inlet lot to 27th Street.
To curtail crowds of smokers clustering at Boardwalk entrances, Adkins proposed installing butt huts on poles on the north and south sides of street ends with east-facing signs specifying no smoking or vaping beyond this point
“Not signed as designated smoking areas,” he said.
Councilman Matt James asked if the revisions could include expanding the smoking restriction to include the beach.
While not outright rejecting the suggestion, Council President Lloyd Martin said the current proposal is being instituted with summer season in full swing and suggested including the beach in the smoking ban is a separate conversation.
“It’s a larger step than what we’re talking about,” he said.
In the end the council voted 6-0, with Councilwoman Mary Knight absent, to install bi-lingual smoking and vaping ban signs at the inlet lot, with street end signs employed as well.