Welcome to Oyster Harbor!
Welcome to your new home in Oyster Harbor. Oyster Harbor is a wonderful place to live, to raise a family, to retire, to play, and to enjoy the great outdoors. Our community offers so many advantages to residents that we have developed this page to help new (and current) residents grasp all that we do, and how we do it.
We encourage you to attend our community meetings and, possibly, join a committee. It is one of the best ways to learn more about Oyster Harbor and to get to know your neighbors. If you have special interests or talents that can help us, please let us know.
As you wander around the neighborhood, you will see we have several community areas to be enjoyed, such as the Beach and Fishing Pier on Shore Drive, the Pier and Boat Ramp on Washington Drive, the playground at the Harbor Road Lot, the boat dock near the intersection of Booker road and Washington Drive, and Fishing Creek Park and Pier at the end of Fishing Creek Road.
Who we are:
Oyster Harbor is a private community, that exists as a special tax district in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Most community maintenance expenses are paid for via your property taxes.
Oyster Harbor’s 381 homes comprise one of the most vibrant and active communities in the Chesapeake Bay western tidal water area. No other community extends out into the Chesapeake Bay, yet boasts fully sheltered harbors and creeks for kayaking and water sports.
Oyster Harbor has a paid professional manager on staff who handles problems and issues quickly. Please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions that cannot be answered via our website forms.
Most Sign-up forms and information sharing are online for easy access. Some of the more common webforms are:
- New Resident (or tenant) sign-up for mailing and email list (We do not publicly post this directory)
- Beach key request (Residents may receive one key free per household. Additional and lost keys are $25 each.)
- Beach Reservations form
- Slip request form
- Boat decal request form
- Community property damage report form
- Community rule violation report form
- Suggestion form
- Pet Directory sign-up (an optional place to list your pet in case he/she goes on a ‘walkabout’)
- Send a message to a member of the Board, an officer or committee chair.
- Oyster Harbor Facebook page (We use Facebook as our primary social media. We do not yet support Twitter or other sites.)
- Upcoming events for the community and community meetings are listed here
The Oyster Harbor Citizens Association was incorporated specifically to provide maintenance and upkeep of community property and amenities for residents. We believe that providing timely responses to residents and a positive attitude in customer service sets the overall attitude for our community and how we interact with each other.
The community has many amenities, which include:
- Three bodies of water; Oyster Creek, Fishing Creek and the Chesapeake Bay border Oyster Harbor
- A swimming beach with sea nettle nets at the community beach
- 39 sheltered slips are spread across three marinas for small to moderate sized powerboats and sailboats that lease for $24/foot/year (The lowest priced slips available in a Bay side community)
- 10 floating dock spaces are available for small dinghys and sunfish sailboats, for only $144/year
- 56 free kayak/canoe/dinghy rack spaces by the water, as long as your small boat has a resident’s sticker
- Two community paddleboard/kayak combos located at Fishing Creek (you must have a lifejacket to use them)
- A community laser sailboat located at Fishing Creek
- Beach volleyball court
- A One mile, three-station Exercise Circuit Course
- A 12′ climbing wall
- A 16′ rope climb
- A fishing pier for residents’ use only
- A boat ramp for residents to launch boats
- Three overflow parking lots
- A dog beach and dog play area
- Two playgrounds for kids
- A small nature preserve at Fishing Creek Park
- A beach picnic area with picnic tables, BBQ, and cooking prep table
- A second picnic area and park at the Harbor Playground
- Two beach gazebos with AC power and free Wi-Fi
- Free WiFi for residents and guests at our beach and at Fishing Creek Park
- Ability for residents to reserve the beach for parties and special events (certain rules apply)
- Tree lined roads and gravel swales present a more rural setting
- A dog friendly community with dog waste stations and optional on-line pet directory for lost pets
- Underground power feeds to most homes
- Verizon FIOS and Comcast cable available to every home
History and Organization of Oyster Harbor:
Oyster Harbor’s history dates as far back as the settling of Annapolis in the 17th Century. In the waters around Oyster Harbor were an abundance of oyster reefs with easy access to downtown. An enclosed marshy area, now called Fishing Creek, was a huge estuary and prominent fishing area.
We are constantly improving our community history page as we compile data on Oyster Harbor and its surrounding area.
Oyster Harbor Citizens Association was formed in 1950 and incorporated as a Special Benefit Tax District* in 1951. It is based around a Board of Directors, Officers and Committees, staffed by volunteer residents (home owners).
Board members are elected for three year terms. Officers are elected annually. Committee Chairs are assigned by the President and approved by the Board. Committee Chairs are ‘re-affirmed or replaced’ after the annual elections in September, or may be replaced as required, at other times during the year.
A minimum of six Board and six Community Meetings are held annually.
*What is a Special Tax District?
Oyster Harbor was established as a Special Benefit Tax District in 1951 for the purpose of day-to-day operations within our community. As a Special Benefit Tax District, we collect an additional tax on ourselves to fund and fulfill the duties we are responsible for**. These taxes are collected by Anne Arundel County as part of the property tax bill, and listed as such. In compliance with Anne Arundel County guidelines, the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the Oyster Harbor Citizens Association must present a budget to the county for each fiscal year, from July 1st through June 30th.
**Oyster Harbor is responsible for:
- The construction, maintenance (including snow removal) and repair of all roads that do not belong to Anne Arundel County. This includes right-of-ways and all community-owned property (beaches, piers, bulkheads, etc.)
- Providing insect and pest control
- Establishing and operating a community security program to augment local police
- Dredging and channel maintenance
Oyster Harbor also provides ancillary services:
- Improvements to Community Property with Amenities such as playgrounds and parks. These are built and maintained within our annual budget.
- Rain runoff control and management via community owned swales and culverts.
- A Piers and Harbors slip rental service that is paid for by slip holders. All slips (not docks, piers and community property) are managed and maintained separately from Community property. The slip fees are kept to the minimum possible to provide this maintenance and a small amount of discretionary funds for parties and benevolence, not covered specifically under the community charter. All boat owners must have liability insurance to cover the vessel, other vessels, and community property damaged in any way by their vessel.
- A boat ramp for small boat launching. This ramp is maintained to provide an easy way to launch small boats, typically under 20′. The community is not obligated to provide launch services for larger vessels, even if it is possible to fit the trailer down the street. Owners are responsible for any damage to overhead lines, ramps and community property when launching their boat.
- Small boat racks and storage. A limited number of racks are provided for small boats such as paddle boards, kayaks, canoes and row boats. These boats must be able to fit in the rack space provided. A limited number of spaces are available at no charge.
- Organized community events. Typically, four events per year sponsored and paid for by the Piers and Harbors committee.
- Trash services for Community Property, including recycling bins, dog waste stations and trash bins.
- Periodic dumpster weekends for disposal of large items not easily put out for trash. But note that AA County will take almost any kind of trash in their Monday service, IF they are notified in advance.
- Limited WiFi in public spaces. Currently the Beach and Fishing Creek Park have free Secure WiFi for residents and free unsecured guest WiFi for guests of residents.
- Seasonal port-a-potties at designated community property areas.
- STEM/STEAM class support for our local schools.
- Rules and regulations to augment local laws, that are specific to our private roads and community property. These rules are enforced by Anne Arundel County police via a program called SWEEP. In addition, Anne Arundel County police provide a PCRC program , Crime watch, and community policing program to help reduce crime and and any other issues. Oyster Harbor partners with the County in these programs.
- Towing enforcement of vehicles and trailers that violate Community and/or County parking regulations. Oyster Harbor utilizes a County registered towing service that conforms to the County towing price schedule. Oyster Harbor does NOT set the towing costs, and cannot influence them. Signs located at community parking areas will identify the rules and local towing service used. Parking is not permitted on our narrow streets as it is a driving risk and First Responder vehicle hazard. Some service and delivery vehicles do need to park temporarily on the sides of roads. Please use care when passing them and watch for pedestrians and dogs.
- Attend Local, County and State events/hearings/meetings that will affect our residents with regard to area commercial construction, road and school improvements.
- Promote Oyster Harbor in a manner that represents our community honestly to potential home buyers.
- Communicate with our residents to provide transparent budget, contact, election and event announcements.
- Other services as suggested by residents and adopted by the Board and Officers.
Oyster Harbor does not provide or is not permitted to do the following:
- Maintenance of electrical services
- Maintenance of cable television services
- Maintenance of sewer services
- Maintenance of private wells
- Maintenance of private property, unless that property is affected by community property
- Surveys of private property, unless that property borders community property
- Zoning, easement or permit issuing services which are regulated and provided by the County.
What can you do to help Oyster Harbor be a great place to live?
Oyster Harbor is where we live. It’s our home and where we spend most of our non-working time. The best thing ‘we can all do’ for Oyster Harbor is to go out into our community; to walk or play and to exercise. Use our amenities and enjoy what we have to offer. That by itself builds a sense of ‘community’ for all of us.
As you are out and about, if you see something that is not right, please let us know. We have webforms to report damage, rule violations or to submit suggestions. Communications with our community manager, elected Board and Officers helps us all make our community a better place.
Volunteering is a great way to make our community better. While we have a professional manager and use professional/licensed landscapers and construction companies, many of our projects, ideas, and unique amenities were built or devised by community volunteers.
From annual budget or election votes to picking up litter while you are out for a walk – giving Oyster Harbor just a moment of your time – will keep our community great.
Your Oyster Harbor Neighbors