Derelict homes concern OP

(Aug. 1, 2014) The Ocean Pines administration intends to come down hard on people who do not maintain their properties.

“We’re going to get tough,” General Manager Bob Thompson said during the board of directors meeting July 23. “We’re going to fix it.”

Although a watch list of Ocean Pines derelict properties is likely to be made, some properties have been in a sad state of neglect for a number of years

Thompson said that in the past, the information has gotten to the point of being sent to the attorney, but then “goes back and forth. I think we have to have a very strong resolve to get these things fixed.”

OPA President Tom Terry said no one on the board was happy with the process of trying to get properties cleaned up.

“We have processes standing in the way,” said Terry, who added that he wants to get some properties “to court as fast as possible.”

“What’s been the reluctance to do it?” Director Jeff Knepper said.

An existing resolution, M-01, concerning derelict properties states in part, “Legal Action. The Board and/or the GM may request our legal counsel to send a letter to the member in an attempt to get the member to correct the violation. Further legal action shall not be initiated until the Board is notified by legal counsel as to the response of the owner, if any, and until the Board has discussed the matter with counsel and receives counsel’s advice on the appropriate legal action to be taken.”

In the future, Thompson said, when a violation is noted, a certified letter about the violation will be sent to the property owner. If no action is taken by that property owner before the next meeting of the board of directors, the board will be asked to send the matter to the attorney for action.

Thompson also said if a property is not maintained, the issue can be taken before the board of directors. With a two-thirds vote, they can have it cleaned up.

Terry  said he wants a “watch list” created so the board can keep track of problem properties.

As for junk vehicles, which have been a problem at some properties for several years, Thompson said they are not allowed and those issues can be sent to the attorney to have a judge make a decision as to whether they are junk. If the judge declares the vehicles  to be junk, the OPA can remove them, he said.

In at least one case, a vehicle has been on jacks and has not been operational for years.

Getting tough on property owners who fail to maintain their properties will have a cumulative effect because it will cause other property owners to comply, Thompson said.

“I think it can become a non-problem, but only if we have the guts to do it,” he said.

Thompson was ready to request that the attorney file a suit in six cases, but Director Marty Clarke said the Ocean Pines Declaration of Restrictions states that board members are responsible for looking at properties in question before voting. One of the properties in question was noted to have violations in 2011 before he was a board member and so he had not seen it, he said.

Terry told Thompson he wanted a packet on each property recommended for action by the attorney and he wanted them to be discussed this week. The board planned to hold a special meeting on the topic Tuesday evening.

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