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Marine Advisory Committee updates OPA board

OCEAN PINES—
The Oct. 26 meeting of the Ocean Pines Association Board of directors opened
with the return of the original contracts of sales of the 26 homes, farms and
marshlands that ultimately became Ocean Pines.

In all, the
properties sold for roughly $4 million, Reese F. Cropper Jr., chairman of the
board of directors of Calvin B. Taylor Bank, said. The most expensive parcel
sold for $1.5 million and the least expensive, for $2,500, he said.

Based on a
brief history of how Taylor Bank came to hold the documents, the Chicago-based
parent company of local developer Maryland Marine Properties had raised local suspicions
on the soundness of the checks.

The document
said Cropper’s father, Reese F. Cropper Sr., President of Taylor Bank at the
time, held the deeds “until the various checks cleared the bank they were
written on. Only then did he release the signed deeds for recording.”

In the
meantime Cropper Sr. had served as escrow agent for the transactions.

 “We’re proud to be able to return these
documents and bring them home,” Cropper said, presenting the documents to the
board.

Also at the meeting, the board
agreed to consider a request by Marine Advisory Committee Chair Frank Watkins
that OPA waterfront property owners be allowed to construct temporary storm
bulkheads to help mitigate potential damage from forecasted major storms.

The proposed barriers could be
erected three days in advance of a “qualified storm,” as designated on the
Ocean Pines website, at the discretion of individual property owners. It would
be understood that the barriers could not protect against tidal surges.

Marine Committee said the temporary
barriers could provide several advantages to the community’s existing bulkheads.
An OP-approved design of the temporary barriers could be easily erected by a
homeowner as needed; the lumber would not require storage; the barriers would
provide a 2-foot deck area behind the permanent bulkhead; and they should be
strong enough to withstand a very strong wave action.

The temporary bulkhead would not
be connected to the permanent bulkheads owned by the OPA, Watkins said.

He
said the committee would not seek an inspection process to ensure that the
barriers were removed three days after a storm had passed, but the committee
would agree to a warning or citation policy for property owners who kept
temporary barriers in place for long periods of time.

Several
members urged the board to reconsider size dimensions in a proposal from the
Architectural Review Committee to amend rules for signs.

Walter
Boge of the OP Angler’s Club told the board the proposed 2-by-2-foot sign limit
was too small and would render the 2-by-3-foot sign, which the club has used
for its Kids’ Fishing Contest and Teach a
Kid to Fish events, out of compliance. He asked the board to consider granting
some leeway for the sign the club has used for years,
which he said would be easier for motorists to read.

Carolyn
Driscoll, president-elect of the Kiwanis also asked the board to consider
granting more flexibility on the sign requirement. She said the Kiwanis would
like to model their signs on the sign used by the Anglers Club.

As
an aside, the board discussed yard sale signs, which members said were
proliferating and varying in degree of acceptability. OPA President Tom Terry
suggested creating a standard sign that homeowners could use to direct yard
sale shoppers without looking unsightly.

The board approved four advisory
committee appointments proposed by Terry. They were the first-term appointments
of Robert Carpenter to the Aquatics Committee, James Spata to the Environmental
and Natural Assets Committee, and Ray Unger to Recreation and Parks; and the
second-term appointment of John McNult to the Tennis Committee.