Government bodies are typically quite predictable in their decision making, but that was not the case last week when a resident’s years-long effort to build a wind turbine on his property failed to get approved by the Ocean City Mayor and Council.
Indeed it was quite surprising to see Ocean City resident Jim Motsko’s wind turbine journey come to an abrupt halt after falling short of the needed votes from the city’s elected officials.
The City Council’s 3-2 vote in support of the wind turbine on 6th Street and the bay on private property means the project is doomed unless the council revisits the issue when the full seven-member body is present. The project needs four yay votes to proceed, and it was clear that fact was not known by everyone in attendance at City Hall during this dialogue.
The entire council should have heard this issue, and we surmise that would have been the case if the city manager and council president, the two individuals who typically craft the council agenda, knew the issue was going to divide the council in such a fashion.
With so much riding on the vote and the fact Motsko has been put through the regulatory gauntlet over the last several years with this project, the private wind turbine merited the full council’s consideration. Instead, as it stands, the project has been rejected, although it was a favored by three of the five council members present.
Supporting the project were Council members Doug Cymek, Dennis Dare and Lloyd Martin; opposed were new Council members Tony DeLuca and Wayne Hartman; and absent were Matt James and Mary Knight. Although he doesn’t have a vote, Mayor Rick Meehan clearly supported the move and had some harsh words for the naysayers.
“I think this is such a good location. If you’re not going to grant this, you might as well get rid of the ordinance. If you don’t approve this here, where would you approve it?,” Meehan said. “If you don’t want windmills, we need to take a look at the ordinance. I don’t want to put somebody through this again. I don’t think there is another spot as conducive for this.”
Last week’s vote was a shame and a poor result, but the council has a chance to right a wrong. The full council needs to weigh in on this issue. If that happens, we would hope for a different outcome because last week’s vote was not the right decision.