Ocean View revs up for Cops & Goblins event

The fifth annual Cops & Goblins Halloween celebration is planned for Saturday, Oct. 26, from 1 to 4 p.m. in John West Park. In the event of rain, it will be held the next day.

Guests can masquerade in costume and enjoy free cheeseburgers, slices of pizza, beverages and candy.

“The police department will be handing out bookbags, water bottles, little police cars. All the officers will be there, and we’ll have fire fighters, paramedics. Children can see the police cars. What I like about it is it’s 100 percent free,” said officer Rhys Bradshaw, public information officer for the Ocean View Police Department, about the event, which is jointly sponsored by the Town and its police department, who spend about $10,000 on it.

Businesses also donate, including Rita’s Italian Ice, Hocker’s Super Center, Papa John’s Pizza and Pepsi Bottling Ventures in Salisbury, Md., all of who supply foods and drinks. Businesses and organizations will have tables with information and gifts for children.

Also planned are horseback riding, a petting zoo, carnival rides, a disc jockey playing music, pumpkin decorating and costume contests.

“It’s not just Ocean View police. We bring them in from everywhere, even the state police,” said Ocean View Mayor Walter Curran.

“This is not only good public relations, but it’s the best police relations event I’ve ever seen, and we intend to keep this one going.”

An interactive booth will be set up to gather public input about the comprehensive plan update that town officials are working on. Several booths will be set up to assess opinions on future transit investments, community character and design considerations of the town.

Children will have the opportunity to design their own perfect city.

“This engagement is really important,” Town Manager Carol Houck said.

“We are going above and beyond to ensure just anybody humanly possible will have an opportunity to comment on this plan,” Curran said.

It will be the final opportunity to submit any comments or suggestions before the draft plan is completed.

The festive Old Town Holiday & Tree Lighting event will be on Saturday, Nov. 30, from 1 to 6 p.m. in John West Park, and feature train rides through the park, holiday tree sales, roasted chestnut sales, unique market vendors and holiday music performances by the Indian River High School Choir, Mariners Bethel Hand Bell Choir and Notes on the Beach. The Ocean View Historic Society will have homes open and decorated for tours.


Planning, Zoning & Development monthly report


At the Oct. 8 council meeting, Ocean View officials also presented a drainage update.

The Woodland Park drainage project has been completed and accepted by the Town and by the Sussex Conservation District, Ken Cimino, director of Planning, Zoning & Development, told the town council.

The final payment for additional work done at the direction of the conservation district was completed, for $5,000. The Kercher Group continues to work on the conceptual design for this project, which Cimino said he anticipates having by late fall.

Cleaning and video recording of the roadway pipe network in Avon Park is finished. Video will be reviewed to analyze any damage.

Cimino’s staff is developing a project to replace curb in Bear Trap Dunes because curbs have heaved due to tree roots and could cause a tripping hazard. Raised sections could also hinder snow plowing.

Staff has also begun developing messages for the planned road-safety public outreach campaign. Cimino, Police Chief Ken McLaughlin and Lauren Weaver from the Bethany-Fenwick Chamber of Commerce will meet this month to discuss combining efforts involving other local municipalities.

“We continue to work on our traffic analysis, on the cut-through traffic problem. We are waiting to get some speed data. Hopefully, we’ll have some dates for corrective actions in the next month,” he said.

In September, there were 41 building and sign permits issued, and 13 certificates of occupancy issued, Cimino reported.


Town manager’s report


Houck, in her monthly report to the council, said seasonal mosquito spraying ended on Sept. 16.

“We experimented with a new timing of our vehicle-mounted spraying operations, in hopes of reducing the time to complete each application. Staff came in from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. vs. the former 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. I credit our Public Works manager, Jerrad Steele, for introducing this work-smarter option, as it allows for less engagement with the public out walking or running, therefore requiring less stopping and starting,” Houck said.

Her office is working with Sussex County’s sewer department regarding concerns raised about the condition of the sewer station in the Muddy Neck road and Ogre Drive area.

“I am happy to report that I met on site with a Mr. Rogers, and that he and Sussex County Sewer have already begun to make some improvements, including mowing of tall grasses, painting of the above-ground equipment so that it’s less noticeable, and weed control. We are hopeful they will be in a position to install a new fence and complete repairs to the turf in the near future,” she said.

On Sept. 27, Houck said, trees were trimmed in John West Park.

“There were many limbs that needed attention, and the outcome provides both safety, beautification and tree health benefits. Annual inspections and trimming will be conducted,” she said.


Parking ordinance public hearing


Local resident Steve Cobb during a public hearing on the issue asked how an amended parking ordinance will affect guests who attend a private party and park on the street.

The public hearing was on the first reading to amend Ordinance 360 of the Ocean View Code, Chapter 93, pertaining to licenses in town. The amendment seeks to limit each rental home to one vehicle per bedroom and mandates that if there is off-street parking available, it must be used before vehicles are parked on the street.

Cobb asked if guests will be ticketed, and Mayor Walter Curran said the ordinance won’t affect private home owners, only rental properties. Police officers will have a list of rental properties, he said.

“If the people you invited are residents of the town, they are free to park on the street. As I stated, this is not easy to enforce. I don’t expect we will get a lot of complaints, but we will get a few,” Curran said.

“With all due respect, Mr. Mayor, … I think a lot more work needs to be done on this,” Cobb said.

Houck explained that the purpose of the amended ordinance is to limit on-street parking by renters. If a local resident has a party, and guests park on the street, it would be overlooked, she said.

“Anybody can have a guest. Anybody can have people over,” she said.

“I understand. I just want to be sure we’re fair to renters. We make a lot of money off renters. I understand the problem. I really do. I just want something that is more practical,” Cobb said, asking what the fines are for renters who park on the street if spaces are available in the driveway of the rental property.

Houck said the ordinance doesn’t list fine amounts, but if there are repeated problems, the landlord might not be allowed to rent the property any longer.

“This was all generated by complaints to begin with, so unless somebody complains, there essentially will not be enforcement,” Curran said.

By Susan Canfora
Staff Reporter