Ocean City, Maryland – (July 11, 2017): The Town of Ocean City is reminding residents and property owners of the purpose and intent of the city’s landscaping requirements. Not only does landscaping help to protect, preserve and promote the aesthetic appeal, scenic beauty, character and value of Ocean City; but it also promotes public health and safety through the reduction of noise pollution, storm water runoff, reduces heat island effect, prevents erosion, and improves air quality, visual pollution and artificial light glare.
“There are a number of reasons that we have a landscaping ordinance,” commented Town of Ocean City Environmental Engineer Gail Blazer. “Landscaping contributes to scenic beauty and public health and allows us to visually screen parking areas and properties abutting public ways, as well as provide a buffer between non-compatible land uses.”
According to Blazer, the town, having required landscaping for over 40 years, has a bit of a dilemma. “Trees have reached maturity and some are too big for the location where they were installed,” Blazer continued. “Trees also get sick or diseased and storms uproot trees or break branches. It is important to realize that these trees were required at the time it was developed.”
The town’s landscaping code includes a maintenance provision. Although understandable that trees and landscaping may have had to be removed for various reasons, it is important that landscaping required at one time is replaced and maintained.
The town is required by code to inspect landscaping every three years, therefore, this summer inspectors for the town will be canvasing the community to insure that properties are up to code. “We will be sending out notifications to the property owners should the landscaping on their property be insufficient,” Blazer added. “If you are notified that the landscaping must be installed you will have a 60 day compliance period. If properties are not in compliance the town can assess fines and penalties.”
It is also important to mention that when a tree or large shrubs are removed, property owners can replace it with another similar sized tree or shrub of a difference species and in a different location. Replacement is required at a 1:1 ratio, with an exemption policy where replacement is not practical or reasonably achievable but this must be approved by the town.
In order to assist property owners, the town has developed a number of grant and rebate programs to offer incentives to plant more landscaping. For more information about these programs, please contact Gail Blazer in the Engineering Department at (410) 289-8825.