While revisiting matters from time to time is wise, the Ocean City Mayor and Council have beaten up the fireworks start time enough. A compromise time of 10:30 p.m. was decided upon last year after weeks of discussions weighing business owners’ concerns with that of families.
Currently, fireworks displays are fired off on Mondays and Tuesdays at 10:30 p.m. from July 10-Sept. 4
The fact of the matter here is the decision will upset some while pleasing others. Personally, I think 10:30 p.m. is too late for young kids after a busy day at the beach and night on the boards. However, the 10 p.m. start time disrupted sales for many Boardwalk businesses and caused a mass exodus after the display was over.
It’s a problematic situation. If fireworks are deemed important as a value-added amenity during the traditional slower early weekdays, then Ocean City should continue to spend money to offer them for free to the visitors.
The problem is I’m not sure that’s the case any longer. The only way to truly find out if the fireworks are worth the money when compared to the disruptions to merchants is to cancel them for a summer and gauge the response. That may be too extreme. A more balanced approach could be scaling the fireworks back to just once a week to get a true read in determining if visitors care at all.
Sometimes you never how much something is valued until it’s gone.
It’s worth a shot.
That seems to be the thought process behind legislation before Senate and House committees that would require the closest any wind turbine off Ocean City’s coast be 26 miles. That distance has been identified as the minimum needed to ensure they can’t be seen from the beach.
Companion bills in the House and Senate were discussed at length at hearings before their respective committees this week. The proposed legislation would essentially undo the state’s Wind Energy Act, approved by the legislature five years ago and outlines offshore wind specifics in Maryland. That legislation stipulated the wind turbines could be located between 10 and 30 miles off the cost. Ocean City’s concern is that a lot has changed – namely the size of the turbines outlined in the two projects – since that act was approved by the legislature.
“The two most important factors for Ocean City property values are location and view,” Hospitality Partners LLC President/CEO Michael James, whose company owns multiple hotels in Ocean City, told the Senate Finance Committee this week. “Wind turbines off the coast of Ocean City will reduce the demand for both rentals and sales of real estate and reduce the pleasure for those who love the ocean. This will be devastating for property owners, both resident and non-resident. Wind turbines off the coast of Ocean City are the greatest threat I’ve seen in my 38 years as a tourism and real estate professional.”
To counter that, Deepwater Wind and US Wind, the two chosen offshore wind developers, said the bill as presented would kill their projects.
“Let me be very clear, this bill will kill our project for sure. There is no way around it. Frankly, if you pass this bill, you might as well repeal the offshore wind legislation because the offshore wind industry will never come back,” Deepwater Wind CEO Jim Grybowski said. “When you try to change the rules midway through the game, it’s a horrible precedent.”
My guess is neither bill will escape their respective committees and get to the House or Senate floor, but stranger things have happened.