By Morgan Pilz, Staff Writer
(May 9, 2019) A small audience of Ocean Pines residents applauded the board of directors vote last Saturday to remove the crabbing pier and elevated walkways in the Whitetail Sanctuary neighborhood.
The pier, which has caused parking issues in that area, has fallen into disrepair over the years and is view by most as a safety risk. Its future, if any, had been discussed for months before this Saturday’s action.
“Probably, out of most homeowners in the community, I am the most affected by the situation because our home is directly across from it,” homeowner Cheryl Bissell told the board. “I do support the closing of the pier.”
“As a community association fee contributor, I want to see my fees go toward an amenity that the majority of us can enjoy, that have the facilities we can enjoy,” another Whitetail Sanctuary resident said. “This has been a trial for 18 years and it’s just went downhill, decayed, it now needs to be replaced. It’s in the wrong place… We all understand what the shortcomings of it are. The liabilities, the risk. It’s in the wrong place. Let’s put it in a place where the majority of us can use.”
However, some residents, like former board member Slobodan Trendic, said he wanted to see a rendering of a new pier design in lieu of removing the pier.
“I’d like to see a legal opinion that was rendered by a legal counsel on this subject,” Trendic said. “The board unanimously approved a motion on June 23 (last year) … to instruct a request for a proposal for the replacement of the crabbing pier.”
Trendic went on to describe the scope of the work, such as finding improvements that would be in compliance with the current bylaws and regulations.
“The purpose of that motion was replacing the crabbing pier to provide a unique amenity to the sanctuary community as marketed by the developer,” he said.
The motion to remove the crabbing pier and the elevated walkways was offered by Director Steve Tuttle and seconded by Director Colette Horn.
Director Frank Daly offered an amendment to the motion that would require the board to seek another location for the pier.
“Before I was elected to the board, I was invited by residents of Whitetail Sanctuary to discuss this,” Daly said. “There were several points to make. This is a victim of poor maintenance and inaction by past management and board’s permitting that inaction. I have a much bigger issue with that pier as a parent and a grandparent, and that’s safety. That pier is way out. If you do have an emergency, or someone falls in, the time to respond is too long to be acceptable to me as a board member.
“I do believe we should rebuild this because it is an amenity that the community uses,” he continued. “I suggest we do it at the Swim and Racquet Club and to go to the permitting stage to see if it’s possible to do it there.”
His amendment failed, however, and Director of Operations Colby Phillips was asked to confer with Public Works to evaluate other locations for the crabbing pier.
All board members, excluded Tom Piatti, who was appointed as a board member at the meeting, and Esther Diller, who was absent, approved the motion.