Commissioners Deny Quitclaim Deed Request

Commissioners Deny Quitclaim Deed Request
The West Ocean City Commercial Harbor area is pictured in this Google maps image.

SNOW HILL– County officials will not sign a quitclaim deed requested by property owners interested in selling their waterfront land to US Wind.

The Worcester County Commissioners voted 4-3 Tuesday not to sign a quitclaim deed requested by US Wind related to lots on the commercial harbor the wind company has an option to purchase. Commissioner Ted Elder said he didn’t want to grant the deed when the county appeared to have no interest in the property.

“We don’t grant quitclaims to anyone that we don’t have a claim on the property to start with,” he said.

County attorney Roscoe Leslie told the commissioners Tuesday the county had received a request from James and April Reese for a quitclaim deed related to property the couple owned at the southeast corner of the West Ocean City Commercial Harbor. Leslie said US Wind had requested the quitclaim deed as part of a contract to purchase the Reese parcel. A quitclaim deed conveys any rights a party might have in a property to the grantee.

“The owner is trying to sell the property and the potential buyer has requested this to make sure they have an absolutely clear title to the property,” Leslie said.

He added that when he’d reviewed the land records he didn’t see where the county had any interest in the property. He said he’d contacted the county’s departments of public works and recreation and parks to be sure but that no one was aware of any issues.

The quitclaim deed was requested by John Robins IV, the attorney representing the property owners, in a February letter to the commissioners.

“As part of the plan to construct offshore wind turbines, US Wind Inc. has an option to purchase the Reese parcel,” the letter reads. “For reasons I cannot figure out, the title company for US Wind has requested that Mr. and Mrs. Reese obtain a quitclaim deed from Worcester County for their property situate on the southerly side of the harbor.”

Elder said he didn’t think the county should grant the request.

“I don’t see any reason the county commissioners should be involved in that whatsoever,” he said. “We have no claim on the property. We’ve got no deeds on it. I don’t think we should do anything.”

He added that officials didn’t know why US Wind wanted the quitclaim and it could have something to do with their future plans. Elder said the county didn’t have a claim on the property anyway. His motion not to move forward with the quitclaim deed passed 4-3. Commissioners Caryn Abbott, Chip Bertino and Eric Fiori voted in opposition.

Fiori and Abbott said after the meeting they’d voted the way they did because they felt they needed more information. Bertino said he felt the county should have approved the quitclaim deed request.

While US Wind is apparently interested in the Reese parcel, Orsted, the other company pursuing a wind energy project off Ocean City, purchased property just west of the Reese property in 2021. At the time, Orsted shared plans for an extensive operations and maintenance facility it plans to build there.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.