GREENWOOD — Greenwood residents Monday overwhelmingly approved proposed amendments to the commercial wind farm section of town ordinance, effectively banning such farms through a new tower height restriction.
The vote was 206-41.
Due to the large turnout, the meeting started 45 minutes late. But there was no discussion or questions posed, and the secret ballot began quickly.
The Calpine Corporation has been studying the feasibility of putting a 13-turbine Long Mountain Wind Farm project in the area of Long, Tibbetts and Elwell mountains.
In the previous ordinance there were no tower height limits specified. Greenwood’s Ordinance Review Committee recommended limiting heights to 250 feet. Calpine said it would need towers that are more than 500 feet for the project to be viable.
The amendments also lower the maximum decibels of noise generated by the turbines, and reduce the setbacks from non-participating properties’ lines.
Many property owners have expressed concern about what they said are possible negative effects of turbines in areas such as noise, health, scenic resources, wildlife and property values.
Calpine said the wind farm would have created average net property tax revenues of more than $423,000 a year, and would provide community payments to the town of around $7,700 per year per turbine. The company had said it would also donate funds to community organizations.
After the meeting ORC member Tyler Bennett said, “I’m very thrilled. Greenwood showed up with a huge show of support.”