By Morgan Pilz, Staff Writer
(June 6, 2019 The Ocean Pines Board of Directors compromised on a motion by Director Frank Daly last Saturday to offer homeowners a referendum that will decide whether the association can levy fines for violations of the declarations of restrictions.
Daly said a recent survey of association members supported such a move by a roughly 2-1 margin, with 1,161 responding “yes” and 540 replying “no” to the question: “Would you support a referendum to provide for better enforcement of the covenants and regulations, including the possibility of limited and capped fines through due process?”
Several residents came forward during the board’s Saturday session to argue in favor of the referendum, while others saw it as a possible expense the association could do without.
Resident Dave Crass expressed concern about the costs associated with a referendum.
“It seems to me that the odds of even getting a referendum – 51 percent I’m assuming is the amount to pass – chances of that are rather slim, if none at all,” Crass said. “I think there are things already in the bylaws we can do and we should try them first because as Mr. (interim General Manager John) Viola said, all we’re doing is spending money on lawyers.
“Fines are good except the fact that the people who aren’t keeping the property up don’t really care about fines anyhow,” he continued. “They’re not going to pay them or do anything with the property.”
Parks said he liked the concept but was struggling with some of the detail, and that more community input was needed.
Director Tom Piatti added a final decision should be postponed until after the August election and the new directors are in place.
Daly later agreed to accept an amendment, which Director Colette Horn read aloud: “This motion will authorize the board and general manager to solicit input from the membership and work with legal counsel to develop a referendum question that incorporates the violations that will be subject to fines, [a] violation correction period, fines schedule, collection of legal fees, [and] due process and appeal requirements, by Sept. 1.”
Directors voted 5-0 for the original motion as amended.