OPA statement on referendum petitions

Ocean Pines has released the following statement regarding the petitions submitted by a homeowner: 

Based on a legal opinion by Ocean Pines’ attorney, it has been determined that neither petition meets the necessary requirements. One petition did not meet the signature requirements, and both failed to comply with petition guidelines spelled out in Ocean Pines Bylaws. 

According to the Association’s attorney, “A petition is valid if it seeks action requiring a referendum under the Bylaws or requests action by the Board of Directors and meets the necessary signature requirements for the type of petition.” 

Additionally, Section 4.08(b) of Ocean Pines Bylaws states, “If action appropriate for submission to the members on a referendum is initiated by a valid petition, the petition must contain a specific question, proposal, or action suitable for an affirmative or negative response on a ballot.” 

After careful review of the signatures, it was determined the Golf Clubhouse petition was signed by 743 eligible voters, or 9.69 percent of the total votes that can be cast.  

According to the Association’s attorney, “This petition also fails to request action by the Board of Directors. Instead, it is drafted to authorize the Board of Directors to construct the clubhouse. Because this petition failed to contain the necessary signatures, did not request action requiring a referendum and did not request action by the Board of Directors, the petition does not meet the requirements of Section 4.08 of the Bylaws.” 

A second petition, related to Board expenditures, failed on similar grounds.  

According to the Association’s attorney, “The Board Expenditure Petition does not seek an amendment to the Bylaws … Rather, this petition seeks a vote on whether the members wish to move forward with a subsequent referendum on an amendment to the Bylaws.” 

“The question presented in this petition does not qualify as an action appropriate for submission to the members on a referendum as required by Section 4.08 of the Bylaws, even though it met the signature requirements,” the attorney said. 

The full attorney opinion is available for review. Copies may be obtained by written request or in person at the Administration Building beginning Aug. 22. 

The Board has no further comment at this time. 

 

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