Ocean City noise ordinance put on hold

File photo: Brad Bell

BALTIMORE (AP) - Performers can return to the Ocean City boardwalk without fear of a citation after a federal judge put the town's noise ordinance on hold.

U.S. District Court Judge Ellen Lipton Hollander granted a preliminary injunction Wednesday in a case challenging the ordinance.

Hollander says the town has an interest in protecting people from unwelcome noise, but its restriction on sounds audible beyond a 30-foot range is too broad.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland is suing the town on behalf of violinist William Hassay Jr., alleging the ordinance violates his right to free speech. Hassay says police threatened him with arrest last summer, saying his performances violated the ordinance.

Mayor Rick Meehan testified that the ordinance was aimed at stores that play loud music to attract customers, not performers.