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Developer tries to calm turbulence over wind turbines

Two industrial wind turbines that failed to garner Planning Board support last summer will be back up for discussion next Wednesday, after their developer agreed to put a court challenge on hold and resubmit the proposal with some modifications. The Planning Board gave the original proposal for two 450-foot turbines, on top of the Graham Waste landfill site off Route 3A, a 3-to-1 approval last June.

Puts appeal on hold, changes Cohasset plan to address concerns

COHASSET - Two industrial wind turbines that failed to garner Planning Board support last summer will be back up for discussion next Wednesday, after their developer agreed to put a court challenge on hold and resubmit the proposal with some modifications.

The Planning Board gave the original proposal for two 450-foot turbines, on top of the Graham Waste landfill site off Route 3A, a 3-to-1 approval last June, but all four board members participating in the process had to approve it. A fifth member, Jean Healey, hadn't been on the board long enough to vote.

Applicant CCI-Energy Inc., of Plymouth, appealed the board's decision in Land Court but recently agreed to put the court case on hold at least until April while it makes one more run locally.

The concerns voiced by the Planning Board and project abutters during initial hearings involved noise, the "flicker'' effect caused by the whirling blades, ice and snow throw, and structural integrity issues.

CCI-Energy's proposed modifications include installing software to change the blade direction when ice and snow... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Puts appeal on hold, changes Cohasset plan to address concerns

COHASSET - Two industrial wind turbines that failed to garner Planning Board support last summer will be back up for discussion next Wednesday, after their developer agreed to put a court challenge on hold and resubmit the proposal with some modifications.

The Planning Board gave the original proposal for two 450-foot turbines, on top of the Graham Waste landfill site off Route 3A, a 3-to-1 approval last June, but all four board members participating in the process had to approve it. A fifth member, Jean Healey, hadn't been on the board long enough to vote.

Applicant CCI-Energy Inc., of Plymouth, appealed the board's decision in Land Court but recently agreed to put the court case on hold at least until April while it makes one more run locally.

The concerns voiced by the Planning Board and project abutters during initial hearings involved noise, the "flicker'' effect caused by the whirling blades, ice and snow throw, and structural integrity issues.

CCI-Energy's proposed modifications include installing software to change the blade direction when ice and snow collect, keeping falling ice away from nearby streets and buildings. They also include more opportunities for financial benefits to the town, and a reimbursement of up to $1,000 per household in the nearby Rose Hill area to plant trees as a visual screen from the turbines. CCI-Energy is also offering about $6,500 to the high school science department for programs related to wind energy.

Planning Board chairman Alfred Moore said the upcoming hearing will be limited to discussion of issues that resulted in the proposal's failure last summer.

"I think the sound issue will be easily addressed, so it won't be a problem,'' Moore said. "The town's [wind] bylaw doesn't have anything to say about visual impact, so that shouldn't be grounds for denial.''

CCI-Energy's attorney, Ken Ingber, said he expects the hearing to be packed. "There were a good number of public hearings the first time, and they were robustly attended and robustly discussed,'' he said.

The Cohasset proposal isn't the only CCI-Energy project held up by local opposition. In Fairhaven, the company proposed two 400-foot wind turbines for the town's waste-water treatment site. Jeffrey Osuch, the town's executive secretary, said local boards awarded all the permits and selectmen approved a contract with CCI-Energy. But a 10-taxpayer lawsuit halted the process about a year ago, and it remains in court.

"The issues were flicker, noise, and lowered property values,'' Osuch said. "I think you're going to get the same argument no matter where you locate them.''

But some wind energy projects have had less trouble picking up support.

Scituate selectmen last month signed a 15-year contract allowing a Woburn company, Solaya Renewable Energy LLC, to build and operate a wind turbine on the town's waste-water treatment plant site off the Driftway. The turbine, which still needs state and local permits, should be operating by 2011. It is expected to save the town about $250,000 per year in electricity costs, said Scituate's public works director, Al Bangert.

"The town will be able to buy electricity for 8.9 cents per kilowatt,'' Bangert said. "That's about half what it pays now.'' The turbine would provide power to the waste-water treatment plant and municipal and school buildings.

Bangert said he didn't believe the Scituate proposal would meet with the kind of opposition that Cohasset's did. "All indications are there that this is very positive and includes a lot of benefits,'' he said.

Several wind turbine proposals are also being considered in Plymouth. Solaya Renewable Energy is involved in a proposal for two 400-foot turbines on town-owned property on Camelot Drive. The Plymouth County Sheriff's Department has been working on a turbine for the prison property. And the Plymouth County Commissioners recently received a bid from a consortium of public and private entities to build three wind turbines on county-owned land off Camelot Drive.

In Cohasset, CCI-Energy may have a zoning challenge to overcome at its upcoming hearing, following discovery recently that an adjacent piece of open land, overseen by the nonprofit group Trustees of Reservations, is zoned for residential use. The town's wind turbine bylaw stipulates that turbines have to be positioned at least the equivalent of their full height away from a residential zone, in case they fall down. The Cohasset turbines may be within that "fall zone'' from the conservation tract.

Ingber, the developer's attorney, said the fact that the land, even though zoned residential, does not have a dwelling on it may affect the decision. Wednesday's Planning Board meeting will open at 7 p.m. in the Town Hall.


Source: http://www.boston.com/news/...

DEC 31 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/23897-developer-tries-to-calm-turbulence-over-wind-turbines
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