By Josh Davis, Associate Editor
(Aug. 2, 2018) Heavy construction equipment and materials used for bulkhead repairs will remain, for now, left in the area behind the Ocean Pines Swim and Racquet Club.
Residents had complained of unsightly and unsafe conditions in the waterfront area adjacent to a park that’s often used by fishermen and dog walkers.
General Manager John Bailey during a public board meeting last Friday said the current contractor, Hi-Tide Marine Construction, estimated it would cost at least 15 percent more to move the materials to another location.
He said the current contract for repairs on West Mallard Drive was $167,000 and a 15 percent increase represented about $25,000.
Bailey said funding is available in the bulkhead reserve, “However, no money was intended to be used for this purpose regarding storage and staging.”
“Even so, I’m recommending the board simply state that they would like to direct the GM to proceed with haste and make this change in land use,” he said.
He said a formal resolution on use of the area could be introduced during a September board meeting and a request for proposals for the next phase of bulkhead repairs could include language to limit or forbid staging there.
Nevertheless, no decision was made as the directors agreed not to add the discussion to the agenda.
Director Ted Moroney moved to do so, but was voted down 2-3.
Only he and Director Colette Horn were in favor. Association Vice President Cheryl Jacobs abstained.
Two directors, Slobodan Trendic and Association President Doug Parks, said they did not have enough information.
Homeowner Lewis Frey appealed to the directors to take action.
Frey, in a June 20 letter to the board, said materials left near the swim and racquet club in 2016 “was and eyesore and a dangerous situation for the adults and children walking and playing there.” Two years later, he said the problem returned.
“This is probably the easiest problem to solve today,” Frey said on Friday. “What I’m asking is that the board have a resolution of some type never to bring that equipment there again and do something with that [area] as a park.
“The last general manager told me it would not happen again. In fact, several of the board members here told me that would never come back again. But, it keeps coming back,” he added.
Frey read from a section of association code on compliance procedures that states, “It is the intent of the Board that the General Manager and CPI staff focus on those violations that significantly detract from the appearance of the surrounding neighborhood, present a health or safety risk, and/or detract from our members’ property values.”
“With that I’d just like to say, give the guy the money,” Frey said to loud cheers and applause.
Homeowner Robin Tomaselli said Monday she is frustrated by the inaction.
“The ridiculous part is that for so long OPA has sacrificed safety for money,” she said. “They’ve been really lucky that so far nobody has been hurt down there, because that is a park and recreation area that is doubling as a construction zone and has been for a really long time, negligently.
“For the GM to say that there will be a 15 percent increase to move that storage facility and staging area somewhere else – for that to even take a moment of thought is ludicrous,” Tomaselli continued. “When somebody gets hurt down there, and it will be a child, probably, 15 percent will be a very tiny fraction of what OPA has to suffer in lawsuits. And it will be deserving of a lawsuit, because it is gross negligence if they don’t do something about it.”