Boardwalk Wind Turbines Headed To Council For OK

OCEAN CITY – A favorable recommendation will be moved forward to the Mayor and City Council to allow the first wind turbines to be installed on a Boardwalk property.

Last October, the Planning and Zoning Commission approved the installation of wind turbines in a residential district for the first time. Upon approval, the commission asked for information of an accurate decibels (dBA) rating, the final color and the engineer renderings of the structure.

Mario Villa Santa had applied for a permit to install three small roof-mounted wind turbines on his residence located on the west side of the Boardwalk.

“This is one of the first applications being proceeded with,” Zoning Administrator Blaine Smith said. “We have had other applications but none of them have moved forward.”

At that time, Scott Lebowitz was present representing Energy Dynamics.

“The decibels generated will basically be nothing,” he said. “They are virtually quiet and there are no vibrations. As for color, we can do any color. We are contemplating on painting them in the roof color at this point.”

Ocean City’s code stipulates wind turbines cannot exceed 55 dBA in sound and its appearance cannot be made in an intrusive color.

Planning and Community Development Director Jesse Houston said that he has reviewed test reports conducted by On-Site Acoustic Testing LLC. The turbines were tested from a distance of 2,500 feet and resulting in noise levels of 43-54 dBA.

During further discussion with a representative from the manufacturer, Houston found no noise measurement listed on the products spec sheet.

“They saw no need to specify a noise measurement on their spec sheet because it is essentially noiseless,” Houston said.

Houston added the wind and the waves, plus summer Boardwalk noise will exceed 55 dBA alone.

“Bottom line, or my analysis of it, is this thing is going to be virtually noise free and aesthetically and probably it is as good as an application of the system that we will see,” he said.

The commission will send a favorable recommendation to the City Council to approve the wind turbines on the Boardwalk property.

“I am happy to get the information and am satisfied,” Commissioner Peck Miller said.