County Gives Final Nod to Ocean Downs Service Area

SNOW HILL — The Worcester County Commission this week gave final approval to an application from Ocean Downs to establish the Ocean Downs Sanitary Services Area and bringing the casino onto the Ocean Pines Water and Sewer network.

While the move will mean the elimination of septic systems, an environmental plus, and leave room for further expansion in the future, connecting Ocean Downs to the network will also mean extensive roadwork in the area which could lead to delays and detours for residents.

“They’ll need to know if there will be any disruption to the community or how much,” said Commissioner Judy Boggs, the Ocean Pines representative.

Public Works Deputy Director John Ross informed the commission that hooking Ocean Downs up to county water and sewer will mean some roadwork. Specifically, Ross confirmed that King Richard’s Road in Ocean Pines will host most of the line connecting the casino to the network and will see development this fall when piping is laid beneath it.

Ross wasn’t sure of an exact timetable on when the work will begin or how long it will last, but he promised the commission that his crews will do their best to minimize disruption on the neighborhood. He added that residents along King Richard Road will not be blocked from leaving or entering their homes.

While Boggs was supportive of adding Ocean Downs to county water and sewer, she advised the commission to keep the public in the loop as much as possible to keep frustration among residents over roadwork at a minimum.

“People accept inconvenience,” she said. “What they don’t accept is surprise.”

To that end, Boggs revealed that she will be organizing a community meeting in Ocean Pines to discuss the impact of the Ocean Downs Sanitary Service Area project sometime in the near future.

Once the effort involved with connecting Ocean Downs is over, the commission seemed satisfied with the deal.

Environmental Programs Director Bob Mitchell told the commission that Ocean Downs is currently served by septic, which in a state-designated Critical Area is not ideal from an environmental standpoint.

“The current system there is a mixture of septic systems,” he said.

Attorney Hugh Cropper, who represents Ocean Downs, agreed with Mitchell and stressed the importance of taking septic systems “out of the Critical Area.”

Cropper added that connecting the service area to county water and sewer will only have to happen once and there will be room to expand upon the line in the future.

Though Boggs has yet to choose a date for her community session, she does ask that any concerned residents of Ocean Pines contact her about the Ocean Downs Sanitary Service Area by phone at 410-641-6158.