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


Ocean Pines needs to find middle ground

To expand or not to expand facilities in Ocean Pines to serve the public beyond the needs of the community is one of the key questions the homeowners association’s long-term plan and its town meetings needs to address.
Problem is, a simple yes or no answer won’t suffice.
While there will be both detractors and proponents for almost every individual item ultimately listed in the plan, the community needs to sharpen its focus on what its real objective should be: to provide facilities adequate for association members only or to continue on the path of providing services scaled to serve the greater area.
In recent years, certain projects have generated considerable controversy because their scopes were such that they had to draw on public support from outside the association to make financial sense.
Further complicating the equation is that IRS rules dictate that the public, not just association members, must be allowed to join income-producing programs so that any profits from those amenities are tax exempt.
The Yacht Club and indoor pool are examples of building to a market greater than Ocean Pines, while the new community center falls at the other end of the argument – it was built to serve just the community, but is now considered by some to be too small because of growing requests for its use.
It could be that the answer to the big question the plan is supposed to address is yes and no.
There has to be a middle somewhere, but deciding where that might be will depend on establishing what the community wants to be in the years ahead – a services and recreation center for the surrounding area, or a nicely appointed community that is concerned only with those who reside within its boundaries.