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Bylaws delves into ARC guidelines

By Greg Ellison

(July 15, 2021) The extent of the Board of Directors authority over the Ocean Pines Architectural Review Committee is not as clear as it should be, the Bylaws & Resolutions Committee concluded during virtual meeting last Friday.

Committee Chairman Jim Trummel said a bylaws work group found instances of conflicting authorities between the entities as it worked on possible revisions to the governing documents.

“It is imprecise,” Trummel said.

After considering the matter during the Bylaws Committee meeting last month, and at the behest of the work group, Trummel recently sought counsel from OPA attorney Jeremy Tucker.

Trummel spoke with Tucker for roughly 20 minutes last week about potential conflicts relating to Architectural Review Committee authorities.

Trummel said while association bylaws fail to give the board authority to intervene in or hear appeals of Architectural Review decisions, contradictory rules exist elsewhere within the Declaration of Restrictions.

“There is an exception … in later DR sections, where a right of appeal does exist and has to be recognized,” he said.

Trummel said Tucker is working on recommended revisions for Architectural Review guidelines, including a provision that deems decisions as final.

To further muddy the waters, all association declaration of restrictions created after 1995 reference an appeals process.

Trummel said the appeals process has yet to be included in the Architectural Review guidelines.

The core issue involves “proper use activities” and granting committees’ authority that lack appeals processes.

“The approach is based on appointing persons who can expected to be attentive to their responsibilities,” he said.

Association bylaws grant the directors the authority to establish and enforce polices, including fees and procedures.

Trummel said revisions would be written to avoid any appearance of favoritism.

“The attorney will provide us with suggested wording,” he said.