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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Developer Gillis says access to Ocean Parkway best option

(Nov. 5, 2015) Developer Palmer Gillis has heard the traffic concerns related to the new Delmarva Health Pavilion in Ocean Pines and says he is working on solutions.
The only rub, according to Gillis, is that he’s having trouble finding willing partners.
Officials at the county level suggested converting Route 589 (Racetrack Road) to a dual highway where the center is located near Ocean Pines’ North Gate. But that would be more than a decade off. Meanwhile, the OPA Board of Directors have told Gillis they are not interested in providing access from the facility to Ocean Parkway, despite the developer’s offer to pay the entire cost of construction.  
Speaking during a phone interview on Monday, Gillis said medical offices near neighborhoods are generally seen as highly compatible.
“Consider 200 apartments or a Shore Stop or a fast food restaurant – some of the alternative uses for that space – and you’re going to generate a whole heck of a lot more traffic,” he said.
Gillis said the pavilion would be well maintained, with special attention paid to the condition of both the building and the landscaping. Moreover, he said the facility would be staffed with “high-paying, long-term professional jobs” and promised to use a third of the 21-acre property as a buffer between the houses nearby.
“Those components in itself make it a good neighbor,” he said. “You add in the fact that [medical offices] are typically open Monday through Friday and you don’t have a lot of conflict with the neighborhood. The interfacing with the neighborhood is really about as ideal as you can get.”
In Easton, Gillis is continuing work on a medical offices complex that will, when fully developed, have 145,000 square feet of space – 45,000 more than what’s projected in Ocean Pines. That facility shares an access roadway with the neighborhood.
“The neighborhood in Easton is very compatible and very receiving of that amenity of having full-tilt medical services,” he said. “They want it.”
Similar facilities he’s developed in Salisbury and Millsboro, Del. also share access with the neighborhoods they border.
In Ocean Pines, at present, Route 589 is the only access point to the pavilion and exiting cars can only turn right.
“An Ocean Pines resident, if they’re coming out of the North Gate and going south, they have to make an illegal left turn into the project, or if they’re leaving the project they have to make an illegal U-turn or they’ve got to go across the bridge and do a U-turn onto Ocean Parkway,” he said. “The other alternative would be to continue up Racetrack Road until you hit [Route] 113.”
Gillis said making a U-turn just off the North Gate bridge is “just silly,” although he admitted, “I have done that myself.”
The subject of providing alternative access to the pavilion through Ocean Parkway was broached with the OPA Board before the August elections and discussions “have not been met favorably,” Gillis said.
For now, Gillis is hoping the newly opened Building One at the Delmarva Health Pavilion creates enough good will in Ocean Pines that providing access to Ocean Parkway becomes an offer the community can’t refuse.
“I would say in winter or early spring is the time to bring that up. I would like to bring it up sooner, but I don’t like confrontation and I don’t like dissention. I’m a wimp,” Gillis said with a laugh.
“I really, truly believe this is the best thing for the community and it doesn’t cost the taxpayers a penny,” he added. “I really wanted to get the building open, I wanted people to see the quality of the structure and the quality of the occupant and what a fantastic neighbor they’re going to have.
“I believe that the majority of Ocean Pines residents are going to want this,” Gillis continued. “Opening up access to Ocean Parkway is an ideal solution to this issue. It’s just a matter of the political process catching up to that idea.”