OP Medical Office Building Gains Sewer Approval

SNOW HILL – A public hearing was held by County Commissioners Tuesday to discuss an amendment to the Worcester County Water and Sewage Plan as well as an expansion of Ocean Pines Sanitary Service. The hearing was brief, with only one commissioner finding any issue with the applicant’s proposal.

“This is sort of like a piece of the puzzle that’s missing,” explained attorney Hugh Cropper, who spoke on behalf of Coastal Venture Properties (CVP), the group behind the two requests.

Cropper elaborated, telling the commissioners that extending sanitary services to the company’s proposed medical office complex would make sense, as those services were enjoyed by the area directly surrounding the location.

Besides requesting an alteration to the county’s Water and Sewage plan to add water and wastewater systems for the new medical office, CVP also asked for the status of its location to be upgraded from an S-6 W-6 designation which provides no service to S-1 W-1 which would cover the site for the next two years.

To balance the sanitation services, CVP proposed purchasing 12 Equivalent Dwelling Units (EDUs) of treatment capacity from Ocean Pines.

“I feel this is an ideal site for a medical office,” said CVP owner Palmer Gillis. “I don’t think the residents will even know we’re there.”

Gillis believes the medical offices will benefit the area and have little impact on its neighbors in Ocean Pines.

“When do you expect shovel in the ground to start?” asked Commissioner Judy Boggs.

“I’d like to start tomorrow,” joked Gillis, adding that a summer groundbreaking was the most likely scenario.

As it was a public hearing, Commission President Bud Church opened the floor to the audience. However, there were no public comments on the application.

Commissioner Madison Bunting brought up one aspect of the proposal that he had doubts about.

Bunting asked if 12 EDUs would really be necessary for the project. He pointed out when the application went through the Worcester County Planning Commission, when Bunting himself was president, the number of EDUs had only been eight. “I’m wondering if that number is flexible,” he said.

Gillis only wants as many EDUs as needed for the project. Eventually, the proposal was rewritten to state that as many EDUs as necessary, up to but no more than 12, could be purchased by Gillis.