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ARC ad hoc committee will need more time
By Bob Adair

The first order of business for the ad hoc committee at the May 31 session was to approve a motion by Director Skip Carey to send a letter from the committee to the Ocean Pines Association (OPA) Board of Directors indicating the committee would need an extension beyond the deadline of June 6, 2005 for the committee recommendations.  Mr. Carey said he believes all the recommendations of the committee should go to the board as a single document and that September would be a more likely timeframe to finish the report.  After some discussion the committee agreed with the motion.

Before opening up the next session the board voted unanimously to approve the recommended changes to the fencing guidelines discussed in the last two meetings.

Anyone who has served on a committee or board responsible for the review of a regulatory document will have an understanding of the complexity of the task facing the current ad hoc committee reviewing the Architectural Review Committee (ARC) guidelines.

Subjects such as boatlifts, boat docks, storage containers, sheds and fences draw a good deal of interest because these are the topics most residents take up with the ARC. Now the committee is wading through that part of the guidelines that establishes the authority of the ARC and provides the purpose and objectives of that body.

At the outset there is a need to clarify some titles. Although the current publication of the ARC Guidelines indicates the organization is authorized by each of the Declarations of Restrictions for the various Ocean Pines sections it should be noted that the Restrictions actually provide authority to the Environmental Control Committee (ECC). This title was changed just a few years ago to the current Architectural Review Committee but there is a lingering question about the authority conveying with the title change without a change being made in all the Declarations of Restrictions.

Under the general provisions of the guidelines it is stated clearly that public health, safety and welfare of the population in Ocean Pines are the basic considerations in developing the guidelines.  In this specific section there are words to the effect that the committee can change the guidelines with concurrence of the OPA Board of Directors at any time without prior notice.  First the committee changed the wording to reflect that the guidelines are changed only by OPA board approval.  Further, the committee settled on a 30-day time period for notifying the public about any change to the guidelines. 

The section dealing with the restrictions within the document remained unchanged because most of the restriction process referred to in that section is controlled by the Worcester County zoning ordinance.  The committee did establish another section dealing with “permitting.” 

Local builder Bill Rakow provided a document to the committee that illustrated certain “encroachments” concerning architectural features that should be authorized without requiring a variance. These features would govern deck space, steps, cantilevered windows, etc. that are allowed by Worcester County to encroach into a setback or a BRL (Building Restriction Line) area by a set distance. Detailed specifications for these features published in the guidelines would allow owners to avoid the need for a variance.

Under the subject of permits, committee member Dave Walter stated there was a need for a permit that covered minor changes to a house such as adding a window. Currently that type of work is covered by a permit that allows much more extensive construction or alteration.  The property owner must pay for a more expensive permit even though the requested change is minor.

The current paragraph dealing with variances was dropped with the exception of a few words that were moved to a different paragraph. All unnecessary and duplicative verbiage was eliminated.

The two sections of the guidelines dealing with the objectives and functions of the ARC received the same treatment.  Excess and redundant wording was eliminated.

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Uploaded: 6/9/2005