SNOW HILL – County officials agreed Tuesday to move forward with enforcement actions to make sure White Horse Park property owners abide by occupancy restrictions.
Though the item was not on the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting, after a brief closed session the Worcester County Commissioners reconvened in open session and voted 4-2, with Commissioners Josh Nordstrom and Bud Church opposed, to move forward with plans to issue citations and fines up to $1,000.
“In my opinion there’s too much urgency on getting those people out of there,” Church said in an interview Wednesday. “Everyone’s in too big of a rush. I agree they should not be there, but I think there’s some hardship consideration that needs to be addressed.”
The enforcement plan comes after months of discussion regarding the roughly 50 residents who have been living full-time in White Horse Park despite the restrictions on campground subdivisions, which state that between Sept. 30 and April 1 units shall not be occupied for more than 30 consecutive days or an aggregate of 60 days. The residents, many of whom are elderly, hired an attorney and submitted various renditions of a text amendment that would have allowed them to remain in their homes. Two weeks ago, however, the commissioners voted to reject the latest text amendment proposal, which would have permitted residents who had lived in the park since June of 2018 to continue to do so until they died or moved. In the days following, three commissioners met with the White Horse Park board to talk about enforcement plans.
Staff on Tuesday presented the commissioners with a series of letters outlining the county’s proposed enforcement plans Tuesday. The first letter will be mailed to all White Horse Park property owners advising them the off-season occupancy restrictions will be enforced beginning Oct. 1.
The second letter is proposed for distribution to property owners who may have previously violated the occupancy restrictions. It defines enforcement actions as civil citations and increasing fines. It also offers consultation with Worcester County’s state partners who might be able to help in locating alternate housing.
“In the event that enforcement becomes necessary, you will be guilty of a civil infraction and may be issued a civil citation each day the violation continues,” the letter reads. “The fine for the first civil infraction shall be $100. Thereafter, fines will escalate each day with a fine of $250 for a second offense, $500 for a third offence and $1,000 each day for a fourth and each subsequent offense.”
The third letter is for distribution to renters and tenants reminding them of the occupancy restrictions.