OCEAN PINES – Construction for the new Ocean Pines Yacht Club will begin later than expected, as the Worcester County Planning Commission denied the Ocean Pines Association approval to initiate the project earlier this month.
"They asked to reduce the parking spots," OPA General Manager Bob Thompson said at last Wednesday’s town hall meeting at the Ocean Pines Community Center.
According to Thompson, the design did not meet the county’s requirement to have one parking space for each 125 square feet of flooring. Because all spaces were originally designed to be 10 feet wide, reducing the width by a few inches could bring them into compliance.
OPA representatives suggested incorporating a joint-use agreement for the Mumford’s Landing pool parking lot to be used during peak hours of the Yacht Club, so those spaces could be added to the plan.
Thompson said the pool only experiences a high volume of use in July and August, and even at those times, it closes at 6 p.m.
Still, county officials denied the agreement, saying they still fear the number of parking spaces is not adequate and that light poles that would have to be installed on that parking lot could bother nearby residents.
A meeting was then held last week between OPA representatives and Ed Tudor, Worcester County director of planning review and permitting.
Tudor rejected two administrative adjustments suggested by the OPA. One was to reduce parking space requirements for office and bride and groom dressing areas that account for about 500 square feet.
The other denial was a request to reduce the entire number of spaces required by 20 percent. Tudor asked the OPA to submit a new plan to his office incorporating smaller parking spaces by Wednesday, yesterday.
"We have taken full advantage of the space," Thompson said, confirming that the revised plan was sent to the county on Monday.
While Thompson said they are still asking for an administrative adjustment to limit the parking space requirement, many spaces were reduced to be 9.6 feet wide, which allowed for a greater number of parking spaces in the lot.
On Tuesday, Tudor said he knew the plan was submitted, but he has not had time to review it and does not know if he will be able to approve it in time to bring the document in front of the planning commission once more in November.
"I don’t want to hold them up, but I have been very busy," Tudor said.
If Tudor accepts the new plan on time, it will be up for approval by the Worcester County Planning Commission at its Nov. 1 meeting.