The city’s recycling yard on Shelter Road is being considered as a temporary site for disposing of dredge spoils. By Donald WittkowskiTucked behind a covered fence in a corner of Shelter Road is a mishmash of old TVs, trash cans, dumpsters, clothing bins, construction equipment and big piles of sand.This out-of-the-way site off Tennessee Avenue now serves as Ocean City’s recycling complex and storage yard, but it could play a major role in the town’s multimillion-dollar dredging program for 2017.A city engineering consultant has recommended using the Shelter Road recycling site as a temporary disposal facility for muddy sediment that would be dredged from the island’s shallow lagoons and channels next year.Mayor Jay Gillian said city officials are reviewing the proposal by ACT Engineers, but stressed during City Council’s meeting Tuesday night that he has not yet made up his mind.Mayor Jay Gillian, right, conferring with Business Administrator Jim Mallon, said the proposal needs further study.“We’re figuring it out whether it would work or not,” Gillian told Council. “We’ve got our eyes on it.”Already, ACT’s dredging plan has drawn strong opposition from homeowners who live in the Ocean Reef condominium complex next to Shelter Road. They fear it will cause their property values to fall.Regardless of what becomes of the recycling yard as part of the dredging program, the mayor said the city plans to clean it up. The complex doubles as a storage area for vehicles, construction equipment and materials for the Public Works Department. Some of that equipment may be moved to other locations, Gillian indicated.Dumpsters are used to hold paper, bottles, cans and other recycled items.Among the oddities at the recycling yard are scores of discarded TVs and storage bins filled with hundreds of abandoned bicycles. Big dumpsters are used to hold paper, glass, cans, plastic, concrete and other things that are recycled. The TVs were dropped off during hazardous-waste collection days that allowed residents to dispose of their old electronics. As required by state law, the abandoned bikes are being kept in storage until they are auctioned to the public, city spokesman Doug Bergen said.ACT’s proposal to use the recycling center as a temporary disposal site for dredge spoils could be complicated by the cost and logistics of the cleanup plan, Gillian said.“I just don’t know if we can make that work with the cost of moving things around,” he said in his remarks to Council.The recycling yard is surrounded by a covered fence.ACT Engineers has proposed running a temporary pipeline to bring dredge spoils to the Shelter Road recycling site. The gooey sediment would go through a “mechanical de-watering process” and then be hauled away by trucks to permanent disposal facilities outside Ocean City. It would not be stored at Shelter Road.The city must find a temporary site for dredge spoils because work on its main disposal facility has been delayed by a legal battle involving a company that sued the town after it was denied a contract for the project.Although the courts have ruled in the city’s favor so far, ongoing appeals in the lawsuit by Wickberg Marine Contracting Inc. make it doubtful that the main disposal facility, which is known as Site 83 and is located near the 34th Street Bridge, will be ready in time for the 2017 dredging program, officials said.Without the Shelter Road site as a backup, a series of dredging projects planned for 2017 are threatened. They include the Carnival, Venetian and South Harbor lagoons bordered by Tennessee Avenue and Shelter Road and the Bluefish and Clubhouse lagoons off Waterway Road.Gillian has proposed a $20 million dredging program for 2016, 2017 and 2018 to clear out the sediment-choked lagoons along the back bays. Some lagoons are so clogged that boat owners and fishermen are often trapped at their slips and can only travel on the waterways at high tide.The mayor held a town hall meeting Dec. 10 to discuss ACT’s plans for possibly using Shelter Road for dredge spoils. About 100 residents attended the meeting, including homeowners from the Ocean Reef condo complex that overlooks Shelter Road from Tennessee Avenue.Some residents spoke in favor of ACT’s proposal. However, Ocean Reef homeowners criticized the plan, claiming it would drastically reduce their property values and cause excessive noise and truck traffic in their neighborhood.Homeowners at the Ocean Reef condominium development have spoken out in opposition to using the adjacent Shelter Road site for dredge disposals.Gillian said the lagoons must be dredged to protect public safety, improve boating traffic and prevent bayfront property values from falling. But he told residents at the town meeting that he was undecided about ACT’s plan, a point he reiterated during Tuesday’s Council meeting.No timetable has been announced for making a final decision about ACT’s plan. ACT representatives assured residents during the town meeting that they scoured “almost every square inch” of the island for other possible sites before coming up with Shelter Road.