SAVOY -- Voters in this tiny Berkshire County hilltown, population around 800, overwhelmingly banned all new wind turbine development at a special town meeting.
Thursday night's vote was 101-22, far more than the two-thirds majority needed to amend the town's zoning code.
The vote overturns a 2008 ordinance that allowed and encouraged the turbines. Since then, many residents have been fighting a five-turbine proposal by Minuteman Wind, LLC, based in Newton, and by co-developer Palmer Capital Corp., based in Cohasset.
The new bylaw will not effect Minuteman's permitting. The $31 million facility on 293 acres won a special permit from the town in 2010. Revived in 2016, it won a wetlands permit from the state.
However, voters months ago rejected the developers' bid to allow 450-foot towers, placing the 12.5-megawatt project in limbo.
Opponents cited noise, wildlife, and scenic impacts, and organized their neighbors. Residents in nearby Hawley, a Franklin County town, also opposed the project.
As recently as June, Savoy authorized a payment agreement with Palmer to bring revenue to the town, which hosts many acres of non-taxable state forest. The site is owned by longtime resident Harold "Butch" Malloy, who has a 20-year lease arrangement with Minuteman Wind, LLC.