OCEAN PINES — Residents of Carrollton Lane got what they wished for last week when the OPA Board of Directors voted 4-3 to recommend the county make it a “completely” one-way street. But some also may wish they had asked for something different, as it now means a longer ride out of their neighborhood.
Carrolton Lane is already designated a one-way street, according to the board of directors’ interpretation of county documents. A sign on Carrolton Lane prevents people from turning onto it in one direction but the one-way rule of the road has never been enforced. Instead, it has been treated as a quasi-private road, with residents allowed to travel in both directions but non-residents limited to one.
For example, people who live in the middle of the block can turn either left or right out of their driveways, but outsiders are banned from using the street as an exit route. Once the county approves the change, all traffic, whether it originates on Carrollton Lane or one of its feeder streets, will have to travel toward Yacht Club Drive.
Since its opening, the road’s designation and use have been subjects of dispute. Recently, members of the surrounding neighborhood appealed to the board of directors to make a definitive ruling about whether and if the road should be restricted to Carrolton Lane residents alone.
On one side of the debate, the residents claim the developer promised them a one-way street. On the other side, surrounding neighborhoods claim they have an unfair share of the traffic because the road is closed.
OPA members generally wanted the issue resolved one way or another, especially since regular police presence was required to enforce the rule.
“The reality is this is a one-way street for about five people,” said Tom Terry, OPA board president.
After board member Dave Stevens was unable to find enough support to put the decision off pending advice from traffic engineers and endorsement from the general manager, the board voted for the measure. The swing vote was cast by Rick Handelman, who insisted the motion have “completely” added to “one way” to emphasize that the road direction applied to all travel.
During the public comments section, people on both sides of the issue voiced their disappointment in the board’s decision.
“It is a really, really bad idea,” said Frank Philipi, who has been leading the latest charge to keep the road one-way for nonresidents.
In other board news, OPA General Manager Bob Thompson, told the board that the IRS case concerning the nonprofit status of Beach Club operations, which failed at mediation, would be heard by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. In the meantime, the OPA is still required to satisfy the tax court ruling that says it owes $119,171 in taxes on the sale of Beach Club parking passes from 2003 and 2004.
Thompson said that should the OPA prevail in the appeals courts, the money would be returned with interest. The IRS currently pays 4 percent.
The board also heard good news on the association’s finances. At the closing of the fiscal year, initial estimates suggest the OPA exceeded budget expectations by more than $110,000, despite losses in golf and food and beverage operations approaching $100,000.
Thompson said cost reductions at the Beach Club contributed significantly to that department’s and by extension the association’s, bottom line.
As the OPA begins the first full fiscal year of both operations at the newly improved Java Bay Cafe and the investment in Billy Casper Golf management begins to pay off, Thompson said he was confident revenues would improve.