Ocean Pines Board Weighs Country Club Renovation

BERLIN – Though they have yet to decide on a long-term plan for the Ocean Pines Association Country Club, officials are moving forward with the replacement of the building’s roof.

At a work session Tuesday, the Ocean Pines Association (OPA) Board of Directors agreed that country club’s roof, which is leaking, needed to be replaced immediately. A formal decision is expected during Saturday’s regular board meeting.

“The roof we outright have to fix today,” said Brett Hill, OPA’s acting general manager.

According to Hill, the leaking roof at the facility is the result of improperly mounted HVAC units. While many holes have been patched, water continues to get into the building, which has had mold issues in the past.

Director Pat Supik questioned the need for a new roof if there was a chance the entire country club would be replaced with a new one.

Hill explained that the roof simply could not be put off. He also said the country club was structurally sound. Nevertheless, Jerry Aveta, the association’s facilities manager, is expected to present information regarding the potential repair and potential replacement of the building at a future work session. Hill indicated that in the meantime the board would have to decide on the best use of the country club.

“What do we want the building to be?” he said. “We heard from golf that the building is too big for their purposes.”

Director Dave Stevens said he thought the central question was whether the association considered replacing the building a viable option.

Director Slobodan Trendic agreed.

“That is the fundamental question,” he said. “Looking at renovation versus replacement is the critical issue.”

He believes the board needs to consider the entire picture, including the golf course that surrounds the country club. According to Trendic, the course has cost the association close to $5 million, including depreciation, since 2010.

“Can we continue to carry and subsidize what appears to be a costly amenity?” he said. “I’m in favor of repairing simply because the numbers are not attractive when it comes to golf.”

Hill said the latest numbers showed that 5,173 rounds had been played by Pines residents who were not members of the course while 4,820 rounds had been played by course members. The public accounted for 1,961 rounds.

Stevens said there was no correlation between the golf course’s figures and the country club.

“That’s not the issue,” he said. “The issue is we have a building whose components are demonstrably in need of maintenance.”

He added that if the board wanted to purse construction of a new building, it would have to be approved by the community as a whole through a referendum.

“The straightforward path I think is to renovate what we have,” Stevens said.

He added that even if the association compiled cost estimates for a new country club, actual costs would exceed them. He pointed out that original estimates for the new yacht club came in under $3 million. The actual cost came in at $4.75 million.

Resident Joe Reynolds said he thought the community was unlikely to approve a referendum to build a new country club.

“The odds of passing a referendum now are slim to none,” he said. “We’re in this situation only because we didn’t do our maintenance. I think the community is in a mode they want to see maintenance done on what we have.”

Hill said Aveta would present the board with information and options to be considered for the country club at the December work session.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.