OCEAN CITY, MD. -- With less than two months remaining before the deadline, Maryland officials still lack one-third of the easements required to start Ocean City's beach replenishment project.

The project planned for this Atlantic Coast resort depends almost totally on getting the necessary easements from owners of beachfront property before a state-imposed Dec. 1 deadline.

The first phase of the project involves dredging sand from the ocean floor to extend the severely eroded beach. The second part calls for rebuilding the dune line and building a bulkhead on the boardwalk.

"The state is saying we need to have as many easements as we possibly can because by Dec. 1 they will decide whether to go ahead and let the bids. If they don't go ahead, it could set us back a year," said Nancy Howard, beach replenishment project manager.

The project is expected to cost more than $40 million. If it moves ahead as planned, the dredging would begin in the spring and continue through the summer. In October 1989, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would begin the second phase.

Howard said the state expects to get 20 to 25 of the remaining 57 easements. She said 120 have been received.

But even if the Department of Natural Resources decides to let the bids, there is no guarantee that the General Assembly will provide the money.

Legislators said the project must have a substantial number of the easements before it can move ahead.

Mayor Roland (Fish) Powell said, "If we don't have them, there's a possibility" that the state will not go forward with the project.

The City Council is expected today to approve the transfer of development rights, which that would result in the state's receiving easements for 15 1/2 lots, Howard said.