Pines Board Opts Not To Endorse Bill

OCEAN PINES – Ocean Pines officials say they will not support a state bill allowing for expanded wildlife boundaries and planning for a walking and biking trail in Snow Hill.

Last week, the Ocean Pines Association (OPA) Board of Directors agreed not to send a letter of support for Maryland House Bill 882.

Director Doug Parks said the legislation, brought to the board’s attention by members of the Recreation and Parks Advisory Committee, authorizes the expansion of wildlife boundaries and planning for a raised walking and bike trail through the Pocomoke State Forest to the town of Snow Hill.

“There’s already a groundswell of support for this,” he said, “and we wanted to discuss amongst ourselves whether or not we should make an official support of House Bill 882.”

Director Amy Peck noted the bill could allow for future biking trails between Snow Hill and the Berlin area. She added, however, that she did not agree with sending a letter of support.

“The way Ocean Pines falls into this, or might fall into this project, is that in the future it could allow a future trail between Snow Hill and Berlin,” she said. “My concern in sending a letter of support is that HB 882 does not impact Ocean Pines directly.”

Peck told board members she did support projects that had a direct impact on the community, such as Route 90 bridge improvements.

“Governor [Larry] Hogan has already authorized funding for the preliminary study on the Route 90 bridge. It does directly affect OP and the Route 90 bridge has a major crossing at 589 in what is essentially the middle of Ocean Pines …,” she said. “I’d like Ocean Pines to send a letter of support regarding the renovation or replacement of the Route 90 bridge.”

Director Frank Daly said he also did not support the endorsement of House Bill 882.

He did, however, suggest an online petition for residents who wanted to support the legislation.

“This is one of these areas where I think we need to first stay in our own lane. We deal with Ocean Pines …,” he said. “I don’t think we have any business getting involved with that as a board and as an association.”

Parks agreed.

“Unless there is some specific benefit to doing this, I would prefer to stay in our lane …,” he said. “I don’t like being the one to overstep our bounds.”

Perrone said he supported the idea of a trail system, but didn’t think it should have the association’s support.

“While I think this is a great project, it doesn’t affect Ocean Pines,” he said. “And I don’t think we ought to be taking a position on it.”

Ultimately, the board opted not to endorse House Bill 882.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.