Parts of Maryland, as well as much of the East Coast, got blasted by strong winds, heavy rains, and flooding during Hurricane Sandy. In fact, Ocean City, Maryland, suffered hours upon hours of rain and winds, resulting in coastal flooding, dangerous waves, and storm surge. In addition to these things, Ocean City’s iconic pier was battered during Sandy on October 29 and 30, 2012.
Parts of this Maryland fishing pier were actually destroyed by the winds and surf and will need to be rebuilt in time for the summer 2013 season. Some sections ended up in the ocean, and some sections that were battered in the storm disappeared entirely. Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan said that the pier pilings “just snapped under the pressure of it” due to the storm. The pilings left standing have been removed so as not to pose a hazard to boats.
However, the pier doesn’t simply belong to the city or state. Ocean City has allowed franchise holders to have pier control, for a price. Charles R. Jenkins is the current franchise holder of this Ocean City pier and has already agreed to rebuild it. According to the franchise agreement, it is the responsibility of the franchisee to replace what was damaged and to rebuild the pier to these specifications:
- 20 feet wide
- 489 feet long
- It could be extended 140 feet if the shoreline moves seaward
In 1975, Jenkins took over the pier after it fell into disrepair, and he made improvements. His 50-year contract ends in 2029. He pays the town of Ocean City fees to lease the parking spots at the inlet as well as 150% of the assessed value of the pier annually. The town could revoke the agreement if the pier is not in “good and presentable condition” for two years.
Maintaining the pier is costly, and making huge repairs or replacing the pier is a difficult and expensive task, especially after an act of God like Superstorm Sandy appears to test the frailty or strength of man-made structures.