Proximity of wind turbines concern town officials

A community forum was held Saturday morning in Ocean City following a non-binding resolution passed by the town council and mayor opposing the proximity of proposed wind turbines.

The current sight line for beach goers in Ocean City has no obstructions along its horizon.  However, Ocean City officials are warning that might change with the current plans for a future wind farm.

"Somewhere, sometime, absent the people sitting in this room, somebody is going to look at us look out there and go how did you let that happen.  And we don't want that to happen," said Mayor Rick Meehan.

Saturday's community forum comes almost a month after Mayor Rick Meehan and Town Council issued a non-binding resolution opposing the proximity of offshore Wind Turbines.  As of now, if all three phases of construction are approved, wind turbines could be within 12.9 miles of the shoreline, in the eyesight of beach goers.

One resident argues people have adapted to other new technologies in plain sight.

"Electricity and phone lines came about.  The consequence of that were telephone poles.  And yet somehow or other we've sort of gotten used to those.  When the microwave came out, microwave towers and yet we've gotten used to that," said Ocean City resident Tom Murray.

The argument, city officials say, isn't whether or not to bring wind energy to Ocean City, but rather that there is a way to make everyone happy.

Bills in the house and senate in Annapolis will have hearings this week to discuss moving the closest turbines from 12.9 miles off shore to 26 miles, east of the shipping lanes.  This way wind comes to the eastern shore without effecting business.

During the forum, Meehan claimed the project could be delayed two years if plans are altered.  But some residents say the time to act is now, that waiting is unnecessary.  Others point out that turbines may actually be an attraction for new business at the vacation hot spot.

"I think how you guys market this wind turbine definitely has a big impact on how people perceive it.  So I think if you guys market it as, not that this is an eye sore but that this is the beach of the future," said Salisbury University student Jake Burdette.  "Maybe if you market it in the way that I just described you could pick up a new market that was previously untapped into."

Whether the project can be moved or not, Meehan confirmed a wind farm will be built off the coast of the town.

Those bills will be heard in Annapolis this week and are sponsored by eastern shore delegates.  We are told Andy Harris is also lending his voice at the federal level to help move the wind farm to the requested distance from shore.

Categories: Local News, Maryland

More: