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


Questions remain on ARC

The firestorm over an Ocean Pines resident’s application to operate a gun sales business out of his home is now over as the county application for a zoning variance was withdrawn last week.
While guns in homes are an emotional trigger for some, the real issue here was whether county and OPA regulations for home-based businesses in this case would be met.
The home owner followed all the proper procedures in asking for the variance and although the county application was withdrawn, Ocean Pines Architectural Committee (ARC) had already granted the request.
The question still remains however if the ARC decision may have come despite guidelines which require items being sold be manufactured in the home, which does not apply in this case, and the reason the variance was requested.  Simply because the person requesting the variance followed all the rules does not require ARC to allow a variance.
An additional consideration would be neighborhood traffic. While the resident’s plans were not to operate a retail outlet at the home, rather conducting sales online and at gun shows, it would seem on the surface not to create a neighborhood traffic nuisance.  
However FFL licensed dealer sales require a waiting period and transfer of the merchandise would most likely occur at the home business location. If any appreciable sales were made increased traffic could be expected in the neighborhood and should have also been a consideration when ARC granted the variance.
What was considered when the application was approved is unknown as detailed minutes from the meeting are not available on the OPA website.  It certainly would have helped quell some of the ire from neighbors if more detailed information about the application and decision had been posted, as many of their concerns may have been answered.
While emotions on these types of issues can run high, residents were right to ask why the variance was granted by ARC within the existing guidelines.  This is something the OPA board should look at before another application for a home based business comes before the committee.