OCEAN PINES — Jack and Todd Burbage presented the OPA Board of Directors this week with the preliminary draft site plan for a medical office complex they propose to build on the Association’s northern border.
“Atlantic General Hospital is bursting at the seams,” Burbage said.
The new complex would make it both easier to centralize both outpatient care and regular medical services as well as make it easier for Ocean Pines residents, who represent the largest population center in the area, to access healthcare.
A center of this kind has been recognized as a needed addition to Atlantic General Hospital.
During his talk, Burbage also told the Board that the company would be interested in being accepted into Ocean Pines as commercial members but would require neither water nor sewer from Ocean Pines.
The plan had been endorsed by a previous Board but given that there are new members and potentially a difficult approval process with the Worcester County Commissioners, Burbage wanted to reintroduce the proposal and get the new board’s endorsement of it.
The project ran into trouble at the Worcester County Planning Commission last November.
At that time, Burbage and several members of the then-OPA Directors went to the Commission but they left with the issue unresolved and caused a bit of a dust up in Ocean Pines.
Located along the eastern side of Route 589 north of the Steer Inn Tavern, the property in question is currently zoned for agricultural use but Burbage believes he can convince the Commission that the zoning designation was in error and that a significant change in the neighborhood makes the rezoning needed.
The Worcester County Commissioners elected to leave that swath of land zoned for agricultural use and in order to get it changed Burbage must prove that the decision was a mistake. The mistake cannot have been an error in judgement but rather based on inaccurate or incomplete information.
Burbage said he has evidence that the traffic study that so adversely affected the previous outcome was likely faulty. Traffic projections for the future, based on both the construction of the Casino at Ocean Downs and the proposed construction of the 60 home development known as the Steen Property, were overestimated.
Burbage intends to, among other things, present a new traffic study done by an independent agency that will demonstrate that the traffic increase will not be as significant.
He also told the Board his plan to connect the project to the Steen Property, which would give Ocean Pines additional access to Route 589 was endorsed by OPA Chief of Police David Massey.
Residents along King Richard Road, which would be the main artery to reach both the Steen and the Burbage development have voiced displeasure with the notion of having additional traffic on the streets.
The Directors were primarily concerned about being able to make sure that King Richard Road was sufficiently wide to accommodate the increased traffic. They were also concerned that they have real input when it came to the design as well.
They asked Burbage to send along more information and, after they’d reviewed it, the Board would issue a decision about sending a letter of endorsement.
During the November Planning Commission hearing Burbage elected to withdraw the proposal for the time. The Commission scheduled a continuance of the hearing for April 21.