Regarding the search there is no need for recordsets to be present on your search page, unless you are using them to display choices for the user. It is the recordset on the results page that is returning all of the results that will be filtered by the values that were submitted on the search page.
As for the error you are getting this has to do with the open_base_dir setting in the php server. When you are using safe mode this setting will restrict the files that can be included in a php page. With this setting in effect you will only be able to use include files that are in the directory specified in this setting.
To check on this setting you can create a php info page. To make a page like this you just need to add this line of code to the top of any php page:
<?php phpinfo(); ?>
In here check for the open base dir setting to see what is listed as the allowed directory. If you want to include any files on any pages the files that are being included must be located here.
This is not normal to have this limitation in effect, you should speak with your server admin to have them turn this off so that you can use include files in your site without this limitation. If this is something that cannot be changed then you will need to add all of the files to include to the specified directory and update all of the paths in the include and require once lines in your php pages.