Ocean Pines Exploring Fines For Association Violations

OCEAN PINES – Members of the Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors are discussing the possibility of implementing fines to encourage residents to comply with association restrictions.

Director Ted Moroney told the board at a meeting this month that the Ocean Pines Architectural Review Committee (ARC) recommended that the association implement a system of fines to levy when violations occurred. The ARC also believes the current staff that monitors such things — one full-time and one part-time employee — be increased to two full-time employees.

“I wanted to bring it up so it was part of the budget discussions going forward,” Moroney said.

He said the ARC suggested a system of fines, the amount of which could be set by the board, to deter residents from violating community restrictions. Moroney acknowledged that such a change would require changes to the association’s governing documents, the declarations of restrictions. The declarations, commonly referred to as the DRs, differ in each of Ocean Pines’ 18 sections.

Moroney said the ARC also believed two full-time employees, one of whom could work on Saturdays, would reduce violations.

“Many violations take place on weekends,” Moroney said.

Director Slobodan Trendic said he’d want the general manager’s feedback before the board pursued implementing either of the recommended changes.

Director Frank Daly said that during his time in the community, he’d watched the board spend countless hours discussing menial violations because restrictions couldn’t be enforced.

“I think it’s time to crap or get off the pot,” he said, adding that community members either needed to live with the violations or give the association the tools to solve the problem.

Doug Parks, president of the board, said the concept of altering the DRs to allow for fines was something the board could explore. He said at one time a “master DR” that would apply to all of Ocean Pines had been discussed.

“It may warrant some additional discussion,” he said. “I see some benefit in making everything consistent across all the DRs.”

Trendic pointed out that process could be costly and suggested the board reach out to relevant committees as well as legal counsel to get their input.

Community resident Joe Reynolds offered caution, however.

“The idea of changing the DRs to one common DR is an interesting thought but it’s a nonstarter,” he said. “Believe me you’re going to waste a lot of time, effort and money.”

Reynolds said such a change would require approval from each section of Ocean Pines. He suggested the process could become messy, as some sections might approve the change and some might not. Furthermore, any member of the association can push for a change to the DRs at any time. If they get support from more than 50 percent of section residents, they can file that change.

“We have so many things in this community that need attention, I think maybe you ought to put your time into those,” Reynolds said.

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.