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


Pines directors see no obvious answers on traffic

(Nov. 12, 2015) While developer Palmer Gillis says access to Ocean Parkway is the solution to the traffic issues caused by the new Delmarva Health Pavilion in Ocean Pines, several directors in the community say no deal is imminent.
Speaking during a phone interview last Thursday, Board President Pat Renaud said he could not recall ever having discussions with Gillis during his tenure in office, which began in August 2014.
“I remember reading about it in the papers and I remember hearing that the offer [for Gillis to pay for construction] was made, but I don’t recall ever getting a formal offer with figures or anything like that.”
Currently, the pavilion can only be legally entered by making a right turn from Route 589 (Racetrack Road), and can only be exited by making a right onto 589. Renaud admitted that was already causing problems, as southbound motorists are forced to make a U-turn just over the North Gate Bridge in Ocean Pines.
“That’s obviously a problem and will be particularly in the summer when the traffic backs up all the way down about three or four blocks,” Renaud said. “I can see it being a nightmare.”
Renaud admitted there were no easy answers and said he would probably not vote to grant access to the developer.
“I don’t like that, because it’s still a backup of traffic,” he said. “It’s a conundrum.
“Right now I think it will be alright because it’s not a heavily traveled season, but, boy, I’ll tell you, when May and June come, it’s going to be a nightmare, I think,” Renaud added.
Director Tom Terry said the directors have the authority to grant access to Ocean Parkway without going to referendum, something Gillis was unsure of, but doubts that would ever happen.
“He has talked to previous boards about this and he would have to come back to this current board with a request,” Terry said. “In the end, we would have to deed over the land or grant him a right of way to build the road.”
Terry said neither scenario, as far as he knows, has ever happened in Ocean Pines. The community did, at the request of the state, turn over a portion of its deceleration lane near the North Gate to allow for the development, according to Terry.
He added that he voted against that measure, but declined to comment on whether he would vote to grant access to Ocean Parkway.
“The developer has the right to ask for this,” Terry said. “There’s no guarantee at all that the board of directors is going to agree to it.”
Terry did say there was “no value to Ocean Pines whatsoever” in granting access to Ocean Parkway.
“We end up with how many cars now dumping into Ocean Parkway right at the location at our bridge where we already have a lot of traffic anyway?” he said. “Plus you have people that own homes there and if you build a road you’ve automatically lowered the value of their home. There’s no need, for us, for this to be built that I can see.”
Instead, Terry suggested the burden of finding a solution should fall to the state and Route 589.
“They’ve got to step up and they’ve got to put a red light in, or they’ve got to widen the road,” he said. “They’ve got to do something that allows [Gillis] to have both a left and right turn out of his property.
“If I’m the developer, I understand his position,” Terry continued, “but I’m not the developer – I’m on the board of Ocean Pines. I’m trying to protect the homeowners.”