First OC Wind Turbine Eyed

OCEAN CITY — The first wind turbine in Ocean City could end up on the roof of one of its most historic properties, and even more ironically, be visible from the famous Boardwalk.

Eleven months after the Mayor and City Council passed an ordinance that would allow wind turbines to be installed in the resort as a conditional use, the Planning and Zoning Commission was poised to hear its first case, only to see the item pulled from the agenda.

Zoning Administrator Blaine Smith told the commission the plan was originally to install three wind turbines on the roof of the historic Marino Cottage on 14th Street, but the plan has since been altered and the contractor asked to pull the item until the new plan was set.

Joe Bartell, owner of KitchenScapes, a private renovation and building company, has been hired to do a major renovation and reconstruction of the house, which was built in 1931 and the Marino family has owned since 1947. New plans for the wind turbines on the Boardwalk property have not been disclosed, but reports say the idea is only going to be altered and not abandoned.

“I think they have decided that it would be more prudent to just put one turbine on that roof than three,” said Smith.

Glenn Irwin, executive director of the Ocean City Development Corporation (OCDC), said he was ready to give support to the project.

“We are going to support it whether it’s one turbine or two or three,” he said. “It’s a great thing for the town, and the downtown, and I hope it really catches on once the first one goes up.”

It took months for the Mayor and City Council to finally decide how the final version of the wind turbine law should read and coupled with the fact that there has been so much debate about offshore wind turbines potentially impeding people’s ocean views, despite only appearing to be a size of a thumbnail, the irony of the Marino cottage wind turbine project has been noticed at City Hall as well.

“I had not heard about the project, but I know the property, and I think it would be great for the town,” said Mayor Rick Meehan. “I’m also glad to see that someone is finally going to take advantage of an ordinance that we worked so hard to pass last year.”

Smith told the commission that the request would come back as an agenda item once the new plans were set by Bartell and the Marino family.