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OPA board approves new Yacht Club façade materials

10/31/13 | By Sheila R. Cherry, Associate Editor

OCEAN PINES—It was a matter of stone.

At least that was what the Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors debated among other issues at its Oct. 26 board meeting.

In the end, the OPA board passed a motion to approve alternative façade materials for its new yacht club. It also affirmed a $75,000 cost increase for the Hingham Lane drainage project.

The board approved a motion to go with substituted materials for the exterior of the Yacht Club as approved by the Worcester County Technical Review Committee, by a vote of 6-1, with Director Marty Clarke voting in opposition.

In his report to the board on the Yacht Club construction project, General Manager Bob Thompson said the framing of the first floor and the steel set for the building were at least 98 percent complete and that during the following week, contractors were expected to set floor joists, install the second floor sheathing and block on the marina’s retaining wall, and begin installing the facing on the first floor exterior.

Thompson said the project was on budget, even the recent change orders.  He asked for a board decision on the matter of split-faced concrete masonry unit veneer that had been substituted for river rock for the façade of the exterior wall. The substitution became controversial when it was discovered earlier this year with little to no advance warning for board members that a change in materials had occurred.

A design using split concrete block was chosen after the Worcester County Technical Review Committee “strongly discouraged” the use of stone in the building materials, because it did not comply with the list of acceptable commercial building materials that has been in the Worcester County Guidelines and Standards since November 2009.

Thompson was asked to pursue an administrative waiver or appeal of the TRC’s position, which he agreed to have the Yacht Club Implementation Team investigate and report on by the November board meetings.

In an Oct. 12 memo to Thompson, the Implementation Team reported its findings and chronicled a timeline of events leading up to the change, along with a brief list of recommendations. It said, “The initial design prepared by AWB included river stone as the trim material. This was a design error as the architect should have followed to recently approved guidelines.”

In August, 2012 the design was changed from using river stone as the trim material to concrete block as negotiations were taking place with County officials on several other changes during the initial plan review process, according to the memo.

“On 8 August, 2012 at the County TRC meeting OPA and Harkins/AWB addressed the stone issue, discussed a change back to stone, and was informed that ‘Stone shall not be utilized.’ This wording is in the meeting records,” the memo said. It added, “County staff officials indicated verbally that a waiver by the Planning Commission would not be approved. In light of that discussion, no request for a waiver was submitted by OPA/Harkins.”

The Implementation Team memo further said, “Harkins has already ordered the trim material and it cannot be credited for its return. To change back to stone trim would cost somewhere between $40,000 to $60,000. Should a change be approved, there would be a delay in the completion of the project depending on when the new material would be approved by the Planning Commission,” which the Implementation Team estimated would be either the November or December meetings. The river stone could not be ordered before a request for an exception was approved, it said.

Subsequently, the team recommended that the board keep the County-approved split-faced CMU trim for the Yacht Club and make no further effort to request an exception to the County. According to the memo, the team unanimously agreed that the appearance of the new trim is acceptable and would present a favorable appearance.

In the memo, the team acknowledged that the trim issue should have been formally and specifically brought to the attention of the Board as a separate issue in August 2012, but suggested, “Had the new trim been presented initially that there would have been no objections to its use by the Board or the membership.”

During the meeting, Thompson also alerted the board to a potential change in the plans for kitchen equipment used in the Yacht Club. He said initially the plan was to reuse most of the existing equipment. But as a result of a professionally-conducted kitchen redesign and the process of removing the equipment from the old facility, some worn out equipment would have to be replaced and a different hood for the ovens would have to be ordered.

Thompson said information on the changes to the initial design and the timeline for the project would be presented to the board during the Nov. 6 working session.

The board also approved to accept additional costs for a drainage project on the Hingham Lane Project, near the golf course holes 11 and 12 that total $75,000 to allow the project to go forward during the current budget year. All other work is complete, with the exception of the installation of several large pipes at the final site, Thompson said.

The original contract for the project with McDonald & Sons was for $403,826, with an added cost of $136,460 factored in to pay for permitting and changes, Thompson said. The board had approved a total of $540,000 for the project, he said.

The amount paid to date was $332,067 for McDonald & Sons and $115,966 for the added OPA costs, he said. The engineering costs with changes for both phase two the golf course drainage project at holes 11 and 12 and the drainage Hingham Lane project totaled $72,230 for. The total expenditures have been $520,263.

The remaining work to be accomplished on Hingham Lane would include site work totaling $81,700; additional work on pipe and fittings, which came to $8,000; and additional survey work costs of $5,000, for a total of $94,750. But, the balance of the remaining approved funding is $19,737, Thompson explained.

The difference totaled $75,013, which he said had not been spent because he did not have the budget authority to do so. “That's why the pipes are still in the ground,” he said. He presented the board with the option of either suspending the project until next year’s budget begins or to direct the contractor to continue working to wrap up the project.

Clarke complained that the original budgeted cost was $450,000 and that the request was yet another cost overrun.

Thompson pointed out that the board had voted to increase the budgeted total to $540,000 and that the work that would further increase the cost by $75,013 had not been done and was awaiting board approval. However, he noted that a delaying the project for a year could impact residents who have complained of flooding in the area and could result in higher pricing if the project was to restart a year later.

Director Bill Cordwell clarified that the project was not being pursued to improve drainage for the golf course.  “This helps the residents around the golf course,” he said.

A project to powerwash the North Gate Bridge is scheduled to be completed mid-November, Thompson told the board. He also said the entrance sign had been updated and the area around the pond had been cleaned.

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