McGinniss said he paid $1,500 to take out all 100 licenses the city has authorized for battery-powered rolling chairs. He said he has 100 of the vehicles, some with seating for three and others for five, arriving from Florida in a few weeks.
But now Carl E. Briscoe, the city business administrator, says the licenses never should have been issued. As Briscoe sees it, what McGinniss and English offer is not an electric-powered rolling chair, but a customized golf cart.
"The city business administrator has determined that these vehicles are not electric-powered rolling chairs within the meaning of the city ordinance and so they are not properly operating within the city," Detective Sgt. John Mooney, the aide to Police Chief Joseph Pasquale, said yesterday.
Mooney said that if the carts appeared on the Boardwalk again, police would issue a summons.
City Councilmen Arnold Orsatti, Jim Whalen and Jim Sykes all said yesterday that they agreed with Briscoe. "My gut feeling is that I don't like 'em," said Orsatti, who chairs the council's Transportation Committee. "They lack the appeal of the rolling chairs."
Steve Migoley, owner of Shore Rolling Chairs, and Larry Belfer, owner of Atlantic City Famous Rolling Chairs, both said they believe the carts fail to meet the legal definition of electric rolling chairs.
Migoley, after fixing a flat tire on one of his two dozen chairs, pulled out a sheaf of municipal ordinances dating to 1921 that regulate the height, width and design of rolling chairs and note that they must be wicker.
The new chairs are fiberglass, and the five-passenger models are nearly 10 feet long. A 1950 amendment to the city's rolling-chair ordinance limits electrically powered ones to 7 feet, 3 inches, exclusive of handlebars.
McGinniss had said yesterday that he planned to take his vehicle, the first electric rolling chair on the Boardwalk in about six years, back to the Boardwalk today to force police to issue him a summons. But later he left a message saying he had changed his mind and had not decided what to do.
McGinniss, who owns a golf-cart dealership, said that if he lost his fight with the city, he was confident he could sell carts he had on order to resorts as vehicles to transport guests and their luggage.
Among the young men who push the old-fashioned kind of rolling chairs, Briscoe's decision was welcome news yesterday.
"People with class ride chairs," said George Fretz, who has dropped 40 pounds since he started pushing a chair five months ago. "Like one of my customers said the other night, 'If we wanted to ride a golf cart, we'd go to a golf course.' "