Year-round White Horse Park residents will soon start getting fined

WORCESTER Co., Md. – In just a matter of days, people living in a Worcester County community could be forced from their homes due to what the county is calling a violation of its zoning laws.

Worcester County says White Horse Park is a campground subdivision, meaning people can’t live there year round. Starting later this week, the county will begin handing out some hefty fines to homeowners who are staying there longer than they’re allowed. The problem is many of these homeowners don’t have any place else to go. Many of them claim they never knew that they were not allowed to live in their homes year-round, since the county had allegedly never fined them before.

Linda McCoubrey, a longtime homeowner said, “I don’t care what anyone says, this is not fair.”

Under the current zoning ordinance, homes in White Horse Park should not be lived in for more than 30 consecutive days, or 60 days total between September 30th and April 1st.

Starting in early November, the county will begin fining people who have stayed longer than their 30 consecutive days. Those fines start at $100 a day, and eventually go up to $1,000 a day.

In a statement, the county said, “Our goal is not to issue fines, but to elicit voluntary compliance of the restrictions that have been in place for campground subdivisions since the development of White Horse Park.”

Frances Kohne, a resident of White Horse Park said, “I try to go to by the rule now with the 60 day thing. So I’m staying with my brother in Salisbury and I have a place in Fruitland, not my place, I’m staying with friends, so I can not go beyond that 60 days because I don’t want to be fined. Those fines are horrific.”

Not everyone has the option to leave though.

McCoubrey said, “I don’t have anywhere to go and I’m not the only one who don’t have anywhere to go.”

Many of the people who are living year-round in White Horse Park say they didn’t know about the seasonal residency when they moved in.

John Znamirowski, a homeowner said, “When I bought in here, I was told I could live here year round by my realtor.”

Those residents say they’ve been living at White Horse Park for years without ever having a problem.

Znamirowski said, “This is the first I heard of it.”

The year-round residents are being represented by an attorney, Hugh Cropper. Cropper tried getting the county to amend the zoning of White Horse Park but the county rejected his application. Cropper then went to the Board of Zoning Appeals, but was rejected again. Now, it seems the only option left for these residents is to take this matter to court.

Znamirowski said, “I hope that we can come to a compromise.”

Homeowners we spoke with on Monday say they wish the county would allow those who have been living in White Horse Park for decades to live there year-round until they either pass away, or move out. The county rejected that idea though because they worry that if they allow people to do that, it would set a precedent for other cases.

Categories: Local News, Maryland