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Ad hoc committee draft goes to the board
By Bob Adair

On August 30 the Ocean Pines Association (OPA) ad hoc committee, charged with the review of the Architectural Review Committee (ARC) guidelines, held its 19 and final meeting.  The review took a total of five months to cover the entire guidelines document.  In addition to approving the minutes of the previous meeting, which contained the last of the committee recommendations, Committee Chairman Skip Carey provided guidance concerning the next step in the process required by the charter issued to the committee by OPA Board President Dan Stachurski in April.

At the regular OPA board meeting scheduled for September 14 Mr. Carey will provide the board copies of the 1999 edition of the guidelines, copies of the revised document highlighting the recommended changes on the previous edition and copies of a clean version of the revised guidelines. OPA legal counsel Joe Moore will also receive copies of these documents. 

For those committee members and members of the public who attended the meetings it became clear early on that a review of the guidelines involved in-depth knowledge of other OPA governing documents such as the By-laws and the Declaration of Restrictions (DRs). Based on that fact it appears Mr. Carey had selected members for the committee who would be most familiar with the laws and DRs. On the committee was the chairman of the ARC, a real estate professional and a builder who deal with the documents almost on a daily basis and a resident who serves on the OPA By-laws committee.

Over the last 20 weeks The Courier has provided 19 articles on the progress of the review, providing details about the development of recommended changes.  These included everything from simple word clarification to in-depth discussions about such items as sheds on the property, storage boxes, deck boxes, building area coverage and structure heights.

The goal of the review was to validate the requirements laid out in the guidelines, determine they were in line with the DRs and other laws such as the Coastal Bay legislation.  The overall document was reduced by approximately 10 pages.  Pages of unnecessary diagrams that meant nothing to homeowners were removed. Terminology was standardized throughout the document and paragraphs were realigned within sections so that it made more sense. 

In several sections the recommended changes were based on recognition that the existing document was asking the impossible.  For example, the section dealing with the material for sheds and garages was changed to take into consideration that some of the older colors and material cannot be matched today.

Everything that was discussed and developed into a recommendation was bounced against the DRs and other governing laws such as the Coastal Bay legislation.  For example, the committee eliminated the verbiage dealing with ground decks on property backing on the canals and river because the Coastal Bay law prohibits such construction in the 15-foot buffer along the bulkhead. The owner can build a three-foot wide walkway from the main structure to the dock.  (In a previous article this width was incorrectly reported as four feet). 

The board can accept or reject the revisions, either in total or in part.  The legal review will be important with regard to the ability to enforce the stipulations in the document.

One last motion was made by committee member Walt Boge to rearrange the sections of the document in a more logical sequence. Gail Kretschmar agreed with the idea but said it may cause the board to think the changes in the document are of much greater magnitude than is the case.  Mr. Carey agreed that such realignment could take place after board review.

Mr. Carey thanked the committee members for their time and effort and also thanked those residents that participated in the process.  The review had been open to the public throughout the series of meetings.

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Uploaded: 9/12/2005