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OC & ACLU Settle Suit Over Noise Ordinance

Don Rush

There will be no 30-foot sound restriction for Ocean City’s boardwalk.

That’s the result of a settlement between the  American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland and the resort in a free speech case involving 62-year old violinist William Hassay of Owings Mills.

In addition, he will receive $21-thousand in damages for the loss of income – mainly tips from Boardwalk pedestrians…when he did not perform.

The settlement also includes reimbursement of $11-thousand in costs and $105-thousand in attorney’s fees.

The resort already faced a decision by a Maryland federal court that said the Boardwalk was a public forum which meant that Ocean City could not place any undue burdens on constitutionally protected speech.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that in the summer of 2012 Ocean City Police kept the violinist from playing music on the board under an ordinance which says that any music played on the Boardwalk from an instrument or device should not be audible from a distance of 30 feet.

Hassay was told the move along and would have faced a $500 fine. 

Don Rush is the News Director at Delmarva Public Media. An award-winning journalist, Don reports major local issues of the day, from sea level rise, to urban development, to the changing demographics of Delmarva.