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Board hammers out Town Hall referendum question
By Bob Adair

The latest special meeting of the Ocean Pines Association (OPA) Board of Directors dealing with the question of space requirements in the community had only four items on the agenda, however, each of the subjects was critical to the overall program. 

OPA General Manager Dave Ferguson presented elevation drawings and a sample floor plan of the new facility developed by Design Atlantic Ltd. (DAL). At the previous meeting on May 25 the board directed Mr. Ferguson to request these projections from DAL so that a visual perspective of the project would be available to the public.

Mr. Ferguson and at least four of the directors all stated that the DAL offerings were strictly conceptual in nature and nothing dealing with the specific layout of the building was locked in concrete.  He indicated it is important that everyone understands this point. No funds have been expended on the detailed floor plan layout, the specific sighting of the building or any of the other details associated with the proposed Town Center building. 

The second item on the agenda was acceptance of a resolution prepared by Director George Coleburn, which is the same as a verbal motion except it is offered in writing.  The resolution states the OPA Board of Directors plan to recommend the construction of a new facility to meet the growing needs of the community. The resolution was unanimously accepted by the members and is dated June 1, 2005.

Mr. Ferguson addressed the third item on the agenda.  He presented a detailed cost projection for the existing hall, a modified existing hall and the new center. The numbers included estimates based on current outlays for items such as payroll, contracts, maintenance, insurance and a host of other expenses. Addition of the new 29,000 square-foot facility, operating 15 hours a day will cost approximately $121,000 additional operating funds.  The board considered this to be a conservative figure.

The last item to be discussed was the most important subject of the whole meeting, or for that matter, the last four meetings dealing with facility expansion. A referendum question must be placed before the property owners before the board can move forward on this project.  Mr. Coleburn and Director Tom Sandusky prepared draft versions. Discussion about the content of these drafts was intense and became heated at times. When it seemed another meeting would be required to resolve the content of the referendum question Director Skip Carey recommended the board just stay in session until an acceptable document was produced. Board President Dan Stachurski asked the board to take a short recess, collect their thoughts and return to the table ready to hammer out the resolution.

Director Mark Venit took the lead in developing the basic framework of the referendum question and adjusted the draft based on input from the other directors.

The OPA board members accepted the adjusted version of the document unanimously.

The referendum question reads:  The Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors unanimously recommends building a new facility on the OPA property owned Sports Core property at the southeast corner of Route 589 and Cathell Rd. to accommodate the community’s current and projected space needs for meetings, recreation programming and social activities. Construction of this 29,000 square-foot facility is anticipated to cost $3.9 million.  It will be funded by the sale of 19 OPA-owned buildable lots within the community and the sale of the OPA-owned 2.8 acre commercial property located on the east side of MD Rt. 589 between MD Rt. 90 and Cathell Rd.

Do you authorize the OPA Board of Directors to build this facility?

In the 1 June issue The Courier article on the need for additional space, it was reported that construction of the 29,000 square-foot building was $4,040,257.  The cost appearing in the referendum question is $3.9 million because the project contingency cost was reduced by approximately four percent ($140,000) based on further analysis by the board.

At the close of the session the board directed the OPA election committee develop a plan to place this referendum question on the ballot.

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Uploaded: 6/9/2005