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OPA board meetings become members-only sessions

By Jack Chavez, Staff Writer

(Dec. 1, 2022) In a surprise announcement Monday afternoon, the Ocean Pines Association notified its members that from now on, a property owner identification card must be displayed to gain entry to the monthly regular board meetings and town halls.

Though the OPA had said nothing officially to suggest such an announcement was coming, it wasn’t exactly shocking after the OPA restricted November’s meeting to those with ID cards, a move made to prepare for the possibility that out-of-town supporters of Gavin Knupp’s family could attempt to flood the meeting.

While the last meeting was tense, it was never close to flying out of control. It was unclear just how much the impromptu requirement affected the turnout.

Being done at the last minute, that change drew plenty of scorn from association members. But at least one erstwhile critic sees the value in such a move when it’s made in advance and to be permanent — the next regular board meeting is scheduled for Dec. 17.

“I think it’s good they have a policy going forward,” resident and former director Amy Peck said. “There’s enough time (this go-round).”

However, Peck did bring up one issue — online interaction.

“My concern is there was nothing mentioned about being able to make comments through Microsoft Teams,” Peck said. “I’ve written the board but have not heard anything back. My fear is they will not allow comments via hybrid like they did the last meeting.”

While he refused to delve into specifics, OPA President Doug Parks confirmed that it’s an issue that the association “is looking into.”

Peck offered one solution — homeowners could show their card to their camera so that whoever is running the simulcast can verify their information and turn on their microphone.

“I just don’t want this to be a way people can’t participate hybrid,” Peck said.

She also added they have plenty of time to figure it out. This board wanted Saturday meetings, which they have now, so it must do right by its members.

“If you’re going to stop people participating, that’s wrong. There’s an easy fix,” Peck said.

“They have until Dec. 17 to figure this out. It’s not rocket science.”