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


New comprehensive plan for Pines

(Nov. 5, 2015) The last comprehensive plan for Ocean Pines was written in 1998. In 2000 a supplemental report was requested by the board of directors that provided specific tasks to assist in the implementation of the plan.
In 2002 the plan was again modified by the inclusion of the 2000 Census data, and to project the build out of the community in seven years. The plan has not been updated since.
However, in 2008 Zogby International was commissioned by the Ocean Pines Association to conduct a mail-in survey of property owners in Ocean Pines.
Then, in 2010 the board of directors again reestablished the comprehensive plan committee. The purpose of the new comprehensive plan is to serve as a guide for making community decisions regarding growth and development. This new plan will be a culmination of a cooperative effort of community residents and staff.
The new plan will represent a future vision of Ocean Pines along with recommendations for achieving that vision. It is not intended to be a static document, but will be reviewed and updated periodically to reflect changes in development trends, shifts in the economy, or changes in the community’s goals and objectives.
From 2010 through most of 2013 a substantial amount of data was collected, but little progress was made on the document due principally to a significant turnover of committee volunteers.
In 2014 the committee was introduced to the staff of the Business, Economics, and Community Outreach Network (BEACON) of the Franklin P. Perdue School of Business at Salisbury University. By August 2015 BEACON was under contract to the Ocean Pines Association (OPA) to assist with parts of the new planning process.
BEACON is now working to assess the collective vision of internal and external stakeholders of the OPA as part of the association’s long-term planning efforts, including the comprehensive planning process. Based on these findings, the BEACON team will design a scenario analysis model and accompanying decision support tools to assist policy makers of OPA to explore the costs, benefits, consequences, as well as economic, employment and fiscal outcomes of a variety of community planning scenarios
BEACON’s work is divided into two stages. During stage one, current in progress, the BEACON team has examined current community conditions using existing internal and external data and information sources. Once the data and information from these sources were reviewed and cataloged, the members of the BEACON team conducted a series of phone and in-person interviews to validate and clarify their understanding of what was reviewed, including the history and the status quo of the organization, as well as some of the stated long-term planning decision points found in these documents.
By the end of October, the BEACON Team, using their findings from documents and interviews, will have convened up to three focus groups with OPA staff, elected officials and volunteers; internal and External stakeholders, and others as needed to determine what questions should be included in an online community-vision survey.
Once the survey instrument is finalized, validated and approved by the OPA Board of Directors, it will be made available to all members of the OPA community. The findings from this survey will then be presented at a series of town hall meetings (up to three). At the conclusion of stage one, the board will be engaged in the discussions of the next steps for the project.
Based on the findings from the activities of stage one, the BEACON team will develop a scenario analysis model that will simulate viable long-term community planning and implementation scenarios.
The outcomes of these simulations will then be incorporated into custom-designed, interactive dashboards that will enable OPA decision makers to visualize the measurable outcomes of potential planning and development decisions. These outcomes will include costs and benefits, as well as the economic, employment and fiscal impacts for each scenario.
Once the BEACON project is concluded, the comprehensive plan committee will work on developing and finalizing the Ocean Pines comprehensive plan using the outcomes of the scenarios developed. The comprehensive plan, together with the interactive dashboards, will be a living document for the community.
The next committee meeting is Monday, Nov. 9 at 4 p.m. in the Ocean Pines Administrative Building. The public is invited to attend, and the results of the two forums will be discussed.