Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk – January 17, 2020

Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk – January 17, 2020

“OC Supports Green & Unseen Wind Farms.”

That was the headline on communications from the Town of Ocean City in advance of what was being called the “Save Our Sunrise Public Hearing” on Saturday at noon at the convention center.

It’s clear Ocean City has been working marketing avenues hard ahead of this weekend’s hearing, which was approved by the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) as a means to learn more about the significantly larger wind turbines being planned off Maryland’s coast. There has been a social media blitz, text alerts, mailings and newspaper advertising about the hearing. The message of opposition has been consistent.

In a text alert sent out yesterday to people who subscribed to updates about storms and other city emergencies, the message, titled “Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan sending out an SOS: Our natural viewshed is in danger of being changed forever,” read, “The proposed wind farms off the coast of Ocean City will be visible from our beachfront – impacting all residents, property owners and visitors. If the current proposal is approved, our natural viewshed is in danger of being destroyed and lost forever.” Included in the alert were a number of current horizon images off Ocean City compared to renderings of what the turbines may or may not look like when built.

It’s clear Ocean City feels empowered by the opportunity to put the two wind farm projects under the microscope again before the PSC. The question remains, is it too late? It would seem so, but City Hall believes it’s worth the effort to try and end the projects as planned, despite the PSC saying the hearing does not mean the state will review the critical approval of Offshore Renewable Energy Credits (ORECs). Killing the ORECs would doom the projects.

In its order for the hearing, the PSC said, “This inquiry is limited to potential impacts related to a change in turbine size. The commission will not consider issues extraneous to that topic, including whether to grant the ORECs. The commission does not find it necessary or appropriate to reopen case number 9431 or reconsider order number 88192. Accordingly, Ocean City’s request to reopen case number 9431 or reconsider order number 88192 is denied.”

Nonetheless, Meehan and the City Council believe the plans are a “a threat to our environment, our property values, our economy, and the future of Ocean City. It is simply irresponsible.” He added, “We understand the time and money that is potentially involved in moving the wind farms, but those concerns do not justify placing Ocean City’s future at risk. These turbines are permanent installations. We only have one chance to make this right and if that means the projects get delayed or the developers make a little less profit, it will be money and time well spent to protect our Town.”

Charitable giving comes in a variety of ways. It’s clear the Bank of Ocean City’s gift of its former downtown branch building exemplifies the moral compass behind a community bank.

Surely the bank could have sold the property for a profit, considering it has owned it since 1916 when the first branch opened. However, if recent history is any indication, the new buyer may not have preserved it and turned the site into a positive use for the downtown that takes pride in its rich history, coastal architecture and general homely feel.

By gifting the property to the Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum for more historical exhibit space, the Bank of Ocean City ensures the space remains a positive for the area. The gift to the museum protected the downtown area while also being an act with incredible philanthropic spirit. It’s a true win-win for all involved.

In other news, people who don’t live around here continue to inquire on our social media pages about the future of The Globe building in Berlin. For those wondering, a message has been posted outside the building saying, “The restoration of this 110-year-old building is underway. We are excited to bring to you a space that will showcase live entertainment with a fresh take on food and libations. Stay tuned, we’ll see you in 2020.”

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.