by Chris Flood, Gape Gazzette
February 28, 2023
The Rehoboth Beach Environment Committee has voiced its support for the wind farms that would be located off the Delaware coast… and bans lawn movers?
For the second time in less than a month, a Rehoboth Beach committee has opined on the possibility of wind farms off the city’s coast.
During a meeting Feb. 16, the city’s environment committee recommended the city support the proposed wind farms, but with conditions.
There are two wind farms planned due east of the Delaware coastline – US Wind’s MarWin and Ørsted’s Skipjack Wind Farm. The committee discussed the projects at the request of city commissioners.
Back in October, Rehoboth Beach hosted an offshore wind information-gathering session that included presentations from a number of subject-area experts. The expectation is that once all the information is considered, the city will offer an opinion on the proposed wind farms off the coast of Delaware and Maryland.
As approved, the committee recommended the city fully support the construction of offshore wind facilities. However, they said, the city should advocate that environmental and visual impacts be minimized to the extent possible and that affected areas be restored to the same or better condition after construction has ended.
The committee also recommended the city remain in contact with state agencies, federal agencies and wind farm developers on a regular basis, and request they keep the city informed of developments and public comment periods.
A few weeks before the environment committee, the city’s beach and boardwalk committee issued its opinion to city commissioners. They had similar feelings, including concerns about the viewshed and environment, but recognized the city didn’t have much say in the matter.
During a commissioner meeting Feb. 17, Mayor Stan Mills said the recommendation would be taken up on a future agenda.
Committee recommends ban on gas-powered lawn equipment
Following the discussion on wind farms, the committee also recommended to commissioners a ban on gasoline-powered lawn and garden equipment.
As proposed, gasoline-powered lawn and garden equipment means lawn mowers, leaf blowers, weed eaters, trimmers, chainsaws and other machines that are used to maintain lawns and landscaping.
There would be a multi-year, multi-category phased-in approach to the ban – city equipment first, commercial operators second, residents and property owners third.
Effective the end of this year, handheld gasoline-powered lawn and garden equipment, except for chainsaws with blades over 14 inches, would not be operated by employees or contractors of the city. A ban on gas-powered lawn mowers for city employees and contractors would begin Dec. 31, 2025.
For commercial operators, the initial phase of the ban would take effect Dec. 31, 2024, with the lawn mower ban beginning Dec. 31, 2026.
For residents and property owners, the initial phase of the ban would take effect Dec. 31, 2025, with the lawn mower ban beginning Dec. 31, 2027.
During the Feb. 17 commissioner meeting, held the day after the committee meeting, Commissioner Toni Sharp requested when this issue is brought forward for the commissioners to discuss that a cost analysis for the city’s transition also be included