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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Charter gets one-year South Point dock permit

By Greg Wehner, Staff Writer

Dusk To Dawn Charter Boat

The owner of the Dusk to Dawn charter boat, Marc Spagnola, was granted a special-use permit by the Worcester County Commissioners on Tuesday that allows him to launch his boat from the South Point public boat ramp for the next year. Spagnola initially sought a three-year permit, but that was reduced to one to give the county time to figure out how to deal with commercial enterprises benefiting from taxpayer facilities.

(May 26, 2022)

The Worcester County Commissioners granted a charter boat captain a one-year permit to use a recreational boat ramp in South Point, despite pleas to do otherwise from nearby neighbors.

Marc Spagnola owns and operates the 20-foot Sea Ark and 24-foot Dusk to Dawn fishing charters, and for the last year, he has been able to operate the former from the South Point boat ramp per a one-year special-use permit issued to him last year.

That permit will soon expire, and Spagnola is looking to charter the bigger boat out of South Point because of the comfort it provides his clients, but also because the West Ocean City Boat Ramp is getting busier, and parking is harder to come by.

Spagnola’s attorney, Mark Cropper, initially asked the commissioners on May 17 to approve a three-year term for the permit, but when the request was introduced to the board on Tuesday, Commissioner Bud Church moved to approve it for one year, with Commissioner Chip Bertino seconding the motion.

Commissioner Madison Bunting said he was not against issuing a special-use permit to the charter captain for one year, but said a policy needed to be developed for situations in which commercial businesses want to use county-owned facilities intended for recreational purposes.

Commissioner Joe Mitrecic replied that when the permit was approved last year, the request was made to the recreation department to develop a formula for future cases.

He said he had no problem approving the permit, but said if it comes back to the commissioners next year, the commissioners would need a policy in place on how to deal with special-use permits for county-owned docks.

Two neighbors of the ramp told the commissioners that Spagnola has multiple boats and accused the charter captain of launching boats that were not covered under the current permit.

One neighbor also raised concerns that the dock was in place for recreational use and if the county is going to allow commercial fishermen to operate their businesses from there, the county should capitalize on it.

As it stands currently, Spagnola is allowed to use up to four unspecified parking spaces. If the public fills the lot before Spagnola arrives, he will not have a place to park his trailer.

Cropper maintained on Tuesday that Spagnola never had conflicts with any of the neighbors and has tried to be a good neighbor himself.

The attorney also said his client wants to be able to launch either of his boats from South Point, though the larger one offers better safety for his passengers.

Bunting said he would support the one-year permit, but like Mitrecic, said a policy needs to be drafted.

“It’s gotten out of hand,” he told Kelly Rados, the county’s director of recreation and parks. “You’ve got one year to get this mess straightened out.”

When it came to a vote, the commissioners unanimously agreed to grant Spagnola the one-year permit.