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Residents want informational session on Harwich wind turbines

Pressure is coming from both sides as the town moves deliberatively toward locating two wind turbines on town-owned land. The Cape and Vineyard Electric Cooperative, which would lease town land and construct the turbines, needs town action to be taken to move forward with its funding. Yet, residents in the neighborhoods where the turbines would be located say they are not getting the answers promised them.

HARWICH - Pressure is coming from both sides as the town moves deliberatively toward locating two wind turbines on town-owned land.

The Cape and Vineyard Electric Cooperative, which would lease town land and construct the turbines, needs town action to be taken to move forward with its funding. Yet, residents in the neighborhoods where the turbines would be located say they are not getting the answers promised them.

Terry Hayden, a resident along Headwaters Drive, approximately 1,000 feet from where one of the 400-foot turbines is proposed, expressed frustration in Monday night's selectmen's meeting with the lack of information provided residents.

"I feel that I as a registered voter/taxpaying neighbor and you as elected officials have not been treated honestly and respectfully by the utilities and energy conservation committee," Hayden told selectmen. "They have told you as selectmen and us as neighbors that they planned a public communication effort that would include discussion with residents in the Headwaters area. That has not happened."

She said they were told in January that a meeting would occur in 30 days and it did not materialize. She said they were also promised a site visit to a... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

HARWICH - Pressure is coming from both sides as the town moves deliberatively toward locating two wind turbines on town-owned land.

The Cape and Vineyard Electric Cooperative, which would lease town land and construct the turbines, needs town action to be taken to move forward with its funding. Yet, residents in the neighborhoods where the turbines would be located say they are not getting the answers promised them.

Terry Hayden, a resident along Headwaters Drive, approximately 1,000 feet from where one of the 400-foot turbines is proposed, expressed frustration in Monday night's selectmen's meeting with the lack of information provided residents.

"I feel that I as a registered voter/taxpaying neighbor and you as elected officials have not been treated honestly and respectfully by the utilities and energy conservation committee," Hayden told selectmen. "They have told you as selectmen and us as neighbors that they planned a public communication effort that would include discussion with residents in the Headwaters area. That has not happened."

She said they were told in January that a meeting would occur in 30 days and it did not materialize. She said they were also promised a site visit to a similar size working turbine and that also has not happened.

On the other side, CVEC is concerned delays in Harwich could jeopardize the project should the NSTAR net metering cap of 1 percent of the total utility company load be exceeded. Maggie Downey of CVEC has informed the town the project would not be economically viable should those credits not be available.

Town Administrator James Merriam has also informed selectmen there is a need to alter the financing agreement between the town and CVEC that was approved in town meeting last fall from 15 to 20 years, which would require an article in the special town meeting in May. A second article would also be required to change the article approved in the November special session that limited only one turbine to a site on the parcels where turbines are proposed.

Hayden said she is concerned about health impacts from the turbines and reductions in property values in her neighborhood. Selectman Larry Cole said there are two major new studies taking a comprehensive look at the impact of property values and addressing health issues from noise generated from turbines. Citing the number of homes and the uniqueness of Cape Cod, Hayden responded, "they are comparing apples to oranges."

Board of Selectmen Chairman Ed McManus said selectmen are scheduling a bus tour to wind turbines in Falmouth and at the Massachusetts Military Reservation and there would be room for some residents.

Barry Worth, chairman of the utilities and energy conservation commission, said his group would be holding the promised public forum reaching out to residents in approximately 500 homes located within a half mile of the proposed sites. He said that meeting would be at the beginning of April. Worth said there would be experts in attendance from the University of Massachusetts Renewable Energy Resources Laboratory present to serve as an independent source of information on health impacts stemming from wind turbines.

There was talk about the permitting process and town officials said there needs to be more engineering and consulting first, including examination of sites farther away from homes and whether two turbines can be placed on one site without impacting performance.

Merriam said it would be late 2010 before a special permit is sought through the planning board for the height variance for the 1.5 megawatt turbines. In the meantime, Merriam has filed a request with the state Department of Environmental Protection seeking approval of water department land to locate the turbines.


Source: http://www.capecodchronicle...

FEB 18 2010
http://www.windaction.org/posts/24775-residents-want-informational-session-on-harwich-wind-turbines
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