Work to remove the remaining portion of the Whitetail Sanctuary crabbing pier in Ocean Pines is expected to finish on Thursday, Aug. 8.
The floating portion of the pier was removed last November by Fisher Marine Construction Inc, based on a unanimous vote by the Ocean Pines Board to authorize the work.
Board members on May 4, this year, voted 5-0 to allow Fisher Marine to remove the remaining structure.
Ocean Pines Public Works performed some additional work in the area. The entrance from the road to the pier has been roped off, and new grass and several trees were planted in the entranceway. Additionally, drainage pipes, fencing, benches and bike racks were removed, and a small footbridge was taken down.
Public Works Operations Manager Nobie Violante said the intention was to restore the site to a natural wetland and wooded area.
“The idea was to make everything look like it’s back to nature,” Violante said. “The contractor will be doing the actual removal of the pier itself,”
The pier was built as part of the Whitetail Sanctuary neighborhood and as such was not considered an amenity to be used by the entire association. The original permit, issued May 3, 1994, stated the pier was intended “for recreational use of abutting residential sections.” A turnover agreement later conveyed the pier to the Ocean Pines Association.
Part of the consideration for removal is based on an evaluation by J. Stacey Hart & Associates, Inc. of Snow Hill. The firm visited the site in April 2018 and concluded, based on a visual inspection, “the existing structure is beyond repair.”
Additionally, a 2007 study suggested “The pier and its surrounding area were not designed and are not maintained to sustain its’ high-occupancy and inappropriate usage.”
Other factors for removal included the remote location and lack of public parking.
Board members have publicly said they are open to considering a new location for a pier, although no decision has yet been made.