Ocean Pines Board Slows Down Short-Term Rental Changes

OCEAN PINES – The Ocean Pines Association (OPA) Board of Directors has canceled Saturday’s town hall meeting to discuss proposed short-term rental guidelines.

On Wednesday, President Larry Perrone announced the board’s decision to cancel its April 17 town hall meeting to discuss proposed short-term rental regulations.

“[Director] Frank Daly is withdrawing his motions after consultation with all the stakeholders,” a statement reads. “Frank will continue to work on the guidelines and will propose amending our documents, section by section. We believe this approach will give the entire community the power to make the decision on this crucial issue.”

Last year, an Ocean Pines work group began meeting with community stakeholders to draft proposed changes to the association’s architectural guidelines on short-term rental properties.

According to association officials, there are roughly 180 short-term rentals in Ocean Pines. They noted, however, ongoing issues at three or four properties prompted the association to tighten controls on the short-term rentals.

As proposed, the rental regulations would require single-family residences rented for 28 days or less to have both a Worcester County rental permit and Ocean Pines rental permit and sticker. It also sets requirements for annual inspections, maximum occupancy and safety improvements, among other things. Rental permits will be withdrawn for a period of one year if residences do not comply.

Officials say the proposed guidelines are complaint-driven and match what the county requires in its short-term rental regulations. During last month’s board meeting, however, several Ocean Pines homeowners voiced their concerns regarding enforcement and long-term impacts on the community.

“I think we’re overcorrecting for the sins of a few, and penalizing everyone,” resident Mike Lombardi said at the time.

In an interview Wednesday, Perrone said despite the town hall cancellation association officials would continue the work they started.

“This has been a work in progress,” he said. “We had additional meetings and conferences with additional stakeholders who needed to be involved. We decided there was still more work to do.”

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.