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Resident survey choices considered

By Morgan Pilz, Staff Writer

(May 2, 2019) A 15 percent return on Ocean Pines’ community survey conducted last summer has members of the Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors considering how to address the concerns listed by the respondents.

The survey was issued by the Communications Advisory Committee to all 8,452 property owners in Ocean Pines, and the results showed that their greatest concerns were related to infrastructure.

“As liaison to the communication committee I observed the process, [while] the communications committee analyzed the results, and they went over it with a pretty fine-tooth comb,” board member Dr. Colette Horn said.

According to the survey results, 1,773 property owners, or roughly 15 percent of property owners, filled out the questionnaire with. Sixty-six percent of the respondents were between 55-75 years old, 24 percent were over 75 and eight percent were between 40 and 54 years of age. Just two percent were between 25-39 and no one under 25 completed the survey.

Residents were asked to rate development priorities on a scale of 1-5.

The top answers earning a 5, or highest priority, were drainage (64 percent), other (49 percent), road paving (35 percent), lighting of intersections (32 percent), police/administration building (31 percent), general community landscaping (29 percent), beach club building (28 percent), and mailboxes (26 percent).

“I think with our new organizational structure with Colby Phillips as director of operations, she seems to be communicating more directly to the membership, putting out updates on where we are with the infrastructure and other major projects,” Horn said. “The board had also asked this past year for an ongoing plan for road maintenance.”

Write-in answers for “other” included drainage ditch maintenance, adding a cell phone tower, improving street signs, paving over potholes, making a decision on the crabbing pier, stricter enforcement at the dog park, and dredging canals.

Regarding Ocean Pines keeping members up to date on community issues and activities, 38 percent answered “good,” 29 percent said “average” and 21 percent said the association did a “very good” job. Nine percent said the association did a “poor” job and three percent answered “very poor.”

In order to remedy this, Horn wants to consider bringing back the “Resident’s Academy,” which was implemented when Bob Thompson was general manager.

“This was a class for members to learn more about the ins and outs of Ocean Pines,” Horn said. “It was an excellent class and the communications committee would like to see that resurrected. I think it would help … to create a more informed membership, and it also could be a recruitment for getting more volunteers for our advisory committees, or even candidates for the board.”

As for the board itself, it was as fair by 38 percent and poor by 29 percent. Twenty-one percent of survey responders rated the board good, 2 percent said it was excellent, while 10 percent said had no opinion.

A majority, 57 percent, said the board and management was somewhat responsive and 21 percent said it was not very responsive. One percent rated the board and management as being extremely responsive.

Horn, speaking for herself, wants to try and improve those numbers. One of the solutions to address this issue, Horn said, would be to have town hall meetings managed by Ocean Pines.

“That would be a place where members could get factual responses to their questions,” Horn said. “That’s something that I think people generally agree would be a good idea.”

Another survey could take place later in the year, but might not be as extensive as this last one had been, Horn said.

“One of the criticisms the communication committee had was that it was too lengthy and that we may have gotten more responses had it been less lengthy,” Horn said. “But I think they viewed it as a good starting point and recommend we do a follow-up surveys that maybe target specific topics a little bit more narrowly, so it’s easier for members to respond.”