OCEAN CITY – While
Delaware is busy preparing to implement 60 wind turbines off its coast and
Maryland begins to consider the possibility of a wind farm 12 miles off the
coast of Ocean City, two local residents are hoping for wind turbines on a
smaller scale, on their own properties.
Property owners Jim
Motsko and Larry Layton each made presentations before the Planning and Zoning
Commission this week, citing their reasons for wanting wind turbines on their
Energy conservation is
the obvious reason for the growing popularity of wind turbines, particularly as
the energy efficient turbines begin to become more affordable.
“My heating bills are
getting astronomical and I believe in five or six years this unit would pay for
itself. I think it’d be a good idea if more people did it,” said Motsko, a
local Realtor who is president of the White Marlin Open.
“My concern is down the
road what I’ve been experiencing with my restaurant as far as bills,” said
Layton, a local restaurant owner, noting that he considered wind turbines 12
years ago when the concept was too costly to be viable.
Motsko currently resides
on 6th Street
and the bay, where he has two lots. Motsko explained that his intention is to
place the single turbine at the westerly portion of his property.
The sky-stream wind
turbine, designed and used for residential areas, consists of a 5-foot by
5-foot base with a 33-foot monopole. The blades, each 12 feet in diameter, bring
the structure to a total height of less than 50 feet, assured Motsko.
“As far as noise, I
believe it’s 45 decibels at 40 feet and the unit would sit high enough to be 40
feet off the ground so I don’t think sound would be an issue,” he said.
Both Motsko and Layton noted Ocean
City as an ideal area for
wind-based energy. Situated in a wind zone, Ocean City
averages 14 to 15 mph winds.
Layton is also seeking to place wind turbines on his
residential property downtown, but he is also interested in placing several
wind turbines on his 16th Street property where his restaurant, Layton’s, stands.
Accompanying Layton were two
representatives of Flexera, a Delaware-based alternative energy company. CEO
Bob White and salesman Finn McCabe highlighted the benefits of wind turbines.
According to Flexera,
these particular wind turbines can withstand 140 mph winds. The turbines
intended for Layton’s sites would stand on 45 foot poles, with two on his
residential property, and a variety surrounding the perimeter, with a few on
the interior, of his 16th Street property. McCabe noted that the
turbines on the residential property would be situated so as not to block
neighbors’ bay views.
“These things are
attractive as any flag or kite that I’ve seen,” said Layton, adding that the sound is similar to
noise produced from an air-conditioning unit set on low.
While Layton and Motsko are the first residents to
come forth with intentions to erect wind turbines within the town limits, there
are no guidelines within the zoning code regarding wind turbines.
“We don’t have a
regulation for this in our zoning code,” said Director of Planning and Zoning
Jesse Houston this week. “We still need to look at some issues.”
Houston explained that an ordinance would have to be
drafted before any decisions were made.
The commission agreed to
move the issue to a later meeting for a work session, where more research could
be presented and a draft ordinance could be addressed.