By Josh Davis, Associate Editor
(Feb. 22, 2018) Ocean Pines has released an updated set of rules for its pools that includes separate regulations for the Oasis pool, next to the yacht club.
The Oasis, according to the new rules, “is intended as a quiet ‘oasis’ pool.”
Rules exclusive to that pool include, “No throwing of balls or other items or intentional splashing permitted” and “No back floats, bubbles, rings, or one-sided flotation devices are permitted. Flotation devices, unless USCG approved life jackets or noodles, are prohibited.”
“The Ocean Pines Association cares about its residents, members and guests who come to enjoy our pools throughout the year,” Aquatics Director Colby Phillips said. “The team strives to bring quality and caring customer service as well as a safe, fun and friendly environment. Communication is very important to us and we want to make sure we provide clear guidelines for swimming pool behavior and activity to promote enjoyable experiences.”
Phillips added lap lanes at the Oasis would “go back to how we used to operate them.”
“Two lanes will be available all day, unless there’s a need to reduce the two lap lanes to one. The aquatics department will make that call,” she said.
The new rules respond to the controversy that erupted last year when former Director and General Manager Brett Hill introduced family events at the formerly adults-only Oasis. The board overruled him in April, but in July the association announced the pool would be open to all ages because the adults-only status conflicted with the Fair Housing Act.
Residents upset by the rules change said the pool had been a literal oasis for older residents and suggested the introduction of young children would create safety hazards.
General Manager John Bailey, hired last September, was not part of the rules change, but said he faced a similar situation while managing a homeowner’s association in Virginia.
“I actually had to deal with it when I was at Skyline Plaza in relation to male or female use of a fitness center [on] certain days of the week, and the housing authority got involved in that … and we had to change the rules,” he said.
“I understand the timing was probably the worst thing, last year,” he continued. “It sort of happened and had to get done and threw everything into chaos. The timing was what created the drama.”
Bailey credited the Oasis Pool Work Group, formed late last year, with helping craft a new set of rules for the pool. That was apparently refined by management and also recently discussed with the aquatics advisory committee.
“We had to be very careful about disparate impact, so we crafted [the new rules] and we ran them by legal counsel, so we think we’ve established something [that works],” Bailey said. “The desire is to have a pool that’s a little more quiet in atmosphere. That doesn’t pertain to anybody age wise – it really deals with behavior.
“We think the rules have a balanced approach to establish that and not create a target for anybody,” he added.
To view the rules, visit www.oceanpines.org/amenities/pools.