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Marina gas, drainage ditch misuse highlighted by GM

By Jack Chavez, Staff Writer

Ocean Pines General Manager John Viola

Marina gas pump issues, drainage ditch misuse and updates on projects including lighting on the North Gate bridge, fencing around the Yacht Club and new pickleball courts were highlighted in General Manager John Viola’s report to the Ocean Pines Board last Wednesday.

After opening with maintenance on the Swim and Racquet Club — the exterior is currently being painted and a roof replacement is scheduled for budgeting — Viola reported on how gas prices have affected the pumps at the marina.

“With the price of gas going to five dollars, we did need to update the gears because the price (on the pumps) did not go to five dollars,” Viola said. “Back in the day, nobody anticipated that, so we were out of service for a few days. Once we did that, as you’re probably aware, gas went to six dollars and the gears needed to be updated again. So we did lose a few days there.”

A line leak also required addressing and at the time of Wednesday’s meeting, just two of the five pumps were operational. The subsequent spills and any adverse effects they might have caused had been addressed, Viola said.

“(But) we will be without those pumps for the remainder of the season and I will be coming forward to the board right after the season for replacing the pipes,” he added.

Viola brought the board’s attention to what he said was a concerning trend he’s observed with drainage.

“We want to get all the big pipes, the main pipes cleaned and fixed so that we have access to the bay and wherever we’re draining. We’ve been trying to maintain all the ditches,” Viola said.

However, he said he’s noticed time and again that ditches that are cleared were filling back up with leaves — in one case as soon as a week or two later.

Those clogged drains —residents dumping yard waste in them speculated as the cause — can wreak havoc on the golf course after heavy rainfall.

Some ditches also have boardwalks and bridges built by homeowners over them, which Viola said are not allowed. He is looking into contacting homeowners about the problems with the hope that there’s something to present to the board next week.

“Whatever I can do, whatever actions I can take, I will take. This can’t go on,” Viola said.

Director Doug Parks wondered if homeowners were negligent or oblivious to the violations, but agreed something needs to be done.

“Maybe they didn’t know; let’s give them the benefit of the doubt,” Parks said. “But quite frankly they need to be notified that this kind of behavior and this kind of action cannot continue.”

Regarding the North Gate bridge lighting, Viola said that the lights to be installed are now in stock and will be delivered and put in after the Fourth of July. A concrete mason will pour columns for four light poles on the corner of the bridge.

At the Yacht Club, $11,300 was spent on temporary — and subsequent new — fencing and installation. The project was finished by the end of May.

Construction is on schedule for new pickleball courts and should be finished by the end of July. Repair work on existing courts will start soon, which includes cracks and repainting. Once repainted the courts will need 7-10 days to dry.

Viola said the goal is to ensure that at least four courts are always open.

“It takes time to do this right,” he said.

Teak benches at the golf club were out for repair and back in service last week. Viola said that the lifespan of the benches — purchased in 2008 — is about 20 years. The original cost of the benches was $27,300 and the “new book value” comes in at $19,900.45.

“What I think we have is benches that will last another 15 years if we maintain them,” Viola said.

Nineteen streets are due to be paved. Viola said the association tries to pave “three miles every year” and they’re trying to be consistent with that goal this year. Ocean Parkway is also due to be edged and striped. Bids for paving go out next month and are due back in August.

Staffing shortages have caused some community pools to change their hours.

No issues have been noted so far in the regular OPA audit. A preliminary draft of the final audit report will be released in July and finalized two weeks before the annual meeting.

New bulkheads scheduled for 2021-22 were finished last week and office manager Linda Martin estimated that work on bulkheads scheduled for 2022-23 will begin in the fall. The work will include 10 bulkheads on North Pintail Drive and Pintail Park’s bulkhead.

Martin said the association has received permits from the Maryland Department of the Environment and Worcester county for dredging at several locations around Ocean Pines. The goal is for contract work to start in July.

Mailbox pedestals were ordered in May and are yet to be delivered. The postmaster has been contacted regarding installation scheduling. High-priority locations have been determined and will be installed as soon as possible.

Mailboxes to be replaced first are located on Royal Oaks Drive, Boston Drive and Cannon Drive. Pedestals to be replaced first are located at White Horse Park, Lookout Point, Sundial Circle, Crest Haven Drive, Offshore Lane, Tail of the Fox Drive, Royal Oaks Drive, Bridgewater Road, Brandywine Drive, Cannon Drive, Fairway Lane, Charleston Road.

This story appears in the print version of the Bayside Gazette on June 30, 2022.