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Application process for Ocean Pines executive committees detailed

The application process to become an Ocean Pines advisory committee member and updates on the existing committees’ work were discussed at the latest executive council meeting on March 28.

OPA executive meeting

Members of the Ocean Pines Association Executive Council are pictured at their latest meeting on March 29.
Tara Fischer/Bayside Gazette

By Tara Fischer, Staff Writer 

Ocean Pines Association Board President Rick Farr reiterated the application process to become an advisory committee member at the latest executive council meeting March 28.

Farr said the first step when an advisory committee position is available is for the group to advertise the vacancy with OPA. Once an application is secured, it is forwarded to the board for final approval with endorsements from the chair and liaison. 

Budget and Finance Advisory Committee Chair and former OPA Board President Doug Parks said the chair must indicate on the application if he or she does not endorse the candidate. However, Farr maintains that the governing body will unlikely receive the submission if the liaison and group leader do not support the individual’s campaign for the position. 

Existing members looking to extend their term will go through the application process again two months before the expiration. The committee votes on individuals moving from participant to chair, or any other leadership position. The board must also be notified to validate the promotion.

Each advisory committee also provided reports from the last year at the meeting. 

Aquatics Chair Gary Miller discussed the group’s priorities, which he said were safety, policy, procedure, pricing, equipment maintenance, staffing, and special events. Their biggest issue last year was at the Swim and Racquet Club. Miller said the steps leading into the pool are too narrow, and children often use them as a play area. 

Because the pool’s shallow end is still too deep for smaller kids, they often jump off the steps, which Gary identified as a safety risk for elderly folks trying to get in and out of the pool. 

The Aquatics Advisory Committee recommended replacing the slippery ladder in the Yacht Club Pool with plastic steps, as they provide a firmer grip. They also noticed maintenance issues in the men’s room. 

The group suggested a new membership option for couples. The category is cheaper than the family package, but because the implementation gives residents more choices, revenue has increased for the amenity. 

Parks reviewed the Budget and Finance Advisory Committee and confirmed that the group conducts a two-day review with the OPA general manager as part of the budget preparation process. The chair goes through every line item and ensures that all financial changes and variants are understood. 

Parks also said the committee updated the financial policy manual, which had not been restructured since 2006. The upgrades were approved, and the association’s dealings with different investments were addressed, among other issues. Parks also said that the group will continue to provide budget guidance and communicate with the Ocean Pines Volunteer Fire Department on any improvements they make regarding the new South Station. 

Bylaws and Resolutions Advisory Committee Chair Lora Pangratz said that over the last year, her committee has continued to review the resolutions to keep them up to date. The group meets once a month, and the minutes are posted on their page of the official OPA website. 

Linda Yurche, chair of the Communications Advisory Committee, said that the last year was spent conducting market research within the community regarding electronic signs. One of the new structures will be installed at the North Gate entrance before the summer season begins. 

The committee also hosted a vote sign content to encourage resident to submit their ballots in the board elections. Yurche also mentioned the April 20 Ocean Pines Day. A plethora of OPA amenities, clubs, and organizations will be present to showcase all that they offer and encourage community involvement. 

“What you guys have done for Ocean Pines Day is incredible work, and we’re pushing it out,” Farr said. “…kudos to the communications committee and the team…I think it’s going to be a great success. It has been the talk of the town.” 

Environmental and Natural Assets Advisory Committee Chair Timothy Peck provided his review, in which he said the group was “strong, active, and full with nine members.” 

He mentioned the new duck warning signs, which the committee maintains. Peck also credited the group with researching the technology used for the soft shoreline project around the South Gate Pond.

The committee also researched safe tree-cutting practices in the past year and recommended planting new trees in White Horse Park.

Frank Brown, the chair of the Golf Advisory Committee, reviewed the course’s improvements. The restrooms were repainted, the gazebo between the 12 and 13 holes was restored, and membership among both women and men increased. Weeds in the fairway were addressed, and handicaps were changed on holes two, three, 14, and 15. 

Speaking on behalf of the Marine Advisory Committee, Donna McElroy said that last year, the group’s main activity was soliciting feedback from residents through a weekly email. Residents were asked open-ended questions about the community’s canals, waterways, and activities. The group took the advice and made recommendations to the board.

McElroy said they have continued working on erosion issues with Maryland Coastal Bays and the Environmental and Natural Assets Advisory Committee. She also mentioned an app that provides water quality information that she hopes will gain traction in the community. 

William Barnard, chair of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee, mentioned that their group is focused on bike and pedestrian safety. He also urged the board to find a use for an abandoned tennis court. 

“That whole area is an opportunity for the association to examine it and develop a good plan that fits the community and adds value to it,” Barnard said. 

Racquet Sports Advisory Committee Chair Cathryn Noble recommended improvements to the tennis and pickleball facilities, such as a webcam for the center. She said this could deter individuals from jumping the fence to play and provide a resource for members to check the available space at any given time. 

The next OPA Board of Directors meeting is scheduled for April 20. 

This story appears in the April 4, 2024, print edition of the Bayside Gazette.