SNOW HILL – Given lack of projected funding availability the Worcester County Board of Education’s annual Capital Improvement Plan remained unchanged for the fifth year in a row, according to Superintendent Dr. Jon Andes.
In a brief presentation Andes also thanked Commissioners Linda Busick and Bobby Cowger – both of whom will be replaced by newly-elected commissioners on Dec. 6 – for their service. Busick and Cowger presided over that last meeting
Commissioner Virgil Shockley asked Andes if there was a fixed completion date for Pocomoke High School.
“If everything goes absolutely perfectly,” he said. “Pocomoke High School will be open in June of 2011.”
Shockley suggested inviting Gov. O’Malley and the other state officials to tour the facility next August when the Maryland Association of Counties (MACo) holds its annual meeting in Ocean City.
He suggested that, given that the MACo conference comes before the legislators consider public works funding in Annapolis, the Board of Education would do well to demonstrate how well they have spent state funding.
Andes agreed, saying he’d make sure to have invitations delivered to ranking state officials in time to arrange a tour event.
Economic Development Director Jerry Redden asked the commissioners to approve Pocomoke’s implementation of a grant to construct a restaurant at the Delmarva Discovery Center. The town will hire contractors with county oversight.
“To date we have a good reputation with the state and we’d like to maintain that,” Redden said in response to questions about how much oversight the county will be able to provide. He said the county will maintain a rigorous audit process.
Redden also said that the county’s responsibility for the project ends with the building’s completion. Private industry will run the actual facility and should whatever restaurant that opens fail the county has no financial liability.
Sharon DeMar Reilly, county director of public works, told the commissioners her department received a Project Open Space (POS) grant of $170,000 scheduled to be available in 2013. She said the county has encumbered money for POS use and that it’s being used productively. Reilly recommended the entire $170,000 be allocated to the county for use, as opposed to pre-designated for municipal allocation.
Under questioning from Commissioner Judy Boggs, Reilly said the municipalities still had significant POS funds except for Ocean City, which just spent the last of their allocation. Municipalities can also apply for POS grants independently.
According to commissioner documents, Dough Roller owner Bill Gibbs is seeking a text amendment to the zoning code that he said was critical to improving both the safety of his exiting customers and better access by potential customers.
The Route 50 branch of the Ocean City restaurant has entrances on Keyser Point Road that are not only difficult to see from the main road but also pose a danger to exiting patrons because of poor visibility down the both Keyser Point Road and Route 50. Current zoning language holds that access points must be located at least 200 feet from arterial or collector roads.
Gibbs asked the language include an exception clause that would allow developers to make their case to the planning commission for exemption on a case by case basis if a developer can show the rule makes access less rather than more safe.
In a memo to the commissioners Worcester County Director of Public Works John Tustin said that as long as the proposed changes had to pass the Technical Review Committee he had no objection to the proposed change.
The public hearing date of will be Dec. 21.