Library filed under Impact on Views from Maryland
These wind turbines, standing at 643 feet with red lights atop each tower in the latest proposal would be visible from the beaches of Ocean City and Assateague Island National Seashore,” he said. “The wind turbines, as currently proposed, will reduce property values, jeopardize the safety of maritime travel and pose a threat to Ocean City’s commercial fishing and tourism industries.”
Asserting “our view is not for sale,” resort officials recently rejected an olive branch of sorts from US Wind that could have provided free electric power and other concessions to Ocean City in exchange for relaxing its opposition to the distance of the offshore wind turbines.
Ocean City officials ...have asked the Public Service Commission to reconsider the project because of what they call a major increase in the proposed turbines’ height, from 200 feet to about 370 feet. A commission spokeswoman said ... its chairman has the power to reconsider a project if it has been revised significantly.
OCEAN CITY — For the first time in the prolonged battle over the distance of the proposed wind turbines off the coast of Ocean City, resort officials are getting tangible support from residents and visitors characterized this week as the “sleeping giant.”
The battle over the proposed distance of offshore wind energy turbines from the Ocean City shoreline moved to the General Assembly this week with a hearing before a Senate committee that would require the distance to be at least 26 nautical miles.
“The two most important factors of Ocean City property values are location and view," Michael James, an Ocean City hotel executive, told the Finance Committee. “Seven-hundred-foot turbines will undoubtedly hurt property values.” Town officials say they support offshore wind energy but not wind turbines visible from condo and hotel balconies.
The town of Ocean City's objections to two offshore wind farm proposals are getting an airing in Annapolis. A new Maryland General Assembly bill would prohibit any turbines from being erected within 26 miles of the coast, mirroring a resolution that sailed through the Town Council last month.
“This is a big project that will be there for many, many years, and we only get one chance to make it right,” Mayor Rick Meehan said. “Let’s not go build something we’re all going to regret.” The town's rejection is a political blow to America's first large-scale offshore wind development. But it is largely a symbolic one; the turbines are being planned in federal waters.
The view of waters off Ocean City remains clear, while the possibility of electricity-generating wind turbines jutting up from the horizon is somewhat less so, as local government continued its effort either to kill the idea or push the turbines farther offshore and out of sight.
“Our committee has become concerned that the planned wind farm development off the coast of Ocean City, as currently conceived, could have a serious, negative impact on Ocean Pines Association property owners, as well as a majority of county residents and businesses,” Wolf said. “Our apprehension is based on certain findings of a study by North Carolina State University regarding the impact of wind farms on coastal tourism.”
When the House Appropriations Committee approved the Interior and Environment Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2018 on Tuesday, it also OK’d an amendment opposing the development of offshore wind in Maryland.
"We want them to be moved back to the horizon, so we don't see the towers. I really believe people come to Ocean City because they want to look out into the ocean, the undisturbed natural state of the ocean, and this will dramatically change that." -- Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan
Two months ago, Maryland regulators signed off on the state’s first two offshore wind farms.
Councilman Tony DeLuca, who first asked the council send a letter of opposition to the U.S. Wind’s proposal, still had reservations about this project’s visual impact. “I’ve talked to three engineers and all of them told me that with the curvature of the earth and the horizon, they would have to be at least 26 miles offshore to be not visible at all,” DeLuca said.
US Wind reached out to the town offering to move the wind farm another five miles out, if need be. While council member and secretary Mary Knight expressed optimism in US Wind's willingness to compromise, her concerns still remained that the projects could have a negative impact on Ocean City.
“US Wind understands the council’s opinions regarding viewshed impacts of the offshore wind project and has taken these publicly expressed concerns seriously,” the letter reads. “To further address your concerns, US Wind remains willing to discuss altering the current wind project layout in an attempt to reduce viewshed impacts for Ocean City."
Other than arguing that these wind farms would be good for the planet and reduce our dependence on foreign oil or domestic coal, there isn’t one thing in these proposals that Ocean City government can take to its constituents and its visitors and say, “Look, here’s what we stand to gain, so balance that out with what we stand to lose.”
This is a photosimulation of U.S. Wind's proposed offshore wind facility to be sited 12-miles off the coast of Maryland. U.S. Wind secured the lease rights to two locations off the coast of Ocean City. In total the company is seeking permission to erect up to 187 turbines (750 MW) within an 80,000-acre area.
After getting a glimpse of “dramatic” renderings of the potential offshore wind energy farm last month, resort officials this week unanimously agreed to send a letter voicing opposition to the close proximity of the project to the shore.
During a work session last week, the Ocean City Mayor and Council reviewed a presentation from Bluewater Wind proposing a 200-turbine wind farm off the coast of the resort with construction beginning by 2013. Delaware recently approved a similar, albeit smaller, project off its Atlantic coastline with an anticipated 60-70 turbines producing enough energy to supply about 50,000 homes in that state. While all agreed the idea has merit from an alternative, renewable energy standpoint, the biggest concern raised during Bluewind's presentation last week was the visibility of the massive windmills from the shore and their impact on the landscape.