Library from Massachusetts
The Planning Board last night voted unanimously against recommending a change to the city's zoning ordinance that would have allowed wind turbines to be up to 450 feet in height in all zoning districts. Under the provisions of zoning laws adopted by the City Council in January, wind turbines can be up to 265 feet tall, though they can be even higher through a waiver process.
The Mann family, local cranberry growers for four generations, is proposing a wind turbine project on its land near Route 25 and Head of the Bay Road. Five wind turbines on 320 acres of farmland in South Plymouth are proposed, and the Manns are inviting neighbors and anyone else interested in the project to the first of three public informational meetings from 7 to 9 p.m. this Thursday, March 4, in the Community Room at the Cedarville Fire Station.
A site visit to the Massachusetts Military Reservation in Bourne to observe and learn about the operation of a large scale wind turbine brought a measure of détente between some local residents and town officials on Friday. Headwaters resident Noreen Donahue said the wind turbine which is similar in size to the one proposed for her neighborhood was a little smaller than she anticipated.
Like it or not, the future of Newburyport rests soundly on the aesthetic value of its historic architecture, ecological resources, wildlife and beautiful views. The question for every citizen after knowing what impacts these towers will produce will be, "What benefit is it to the city to have these towers present and how will it affect my home?"
Economic Development and Industrial Corporation Director James Cowdell said the turbine project will probably be reviewed by the Waterfront Site Plan Review Committee headed by City Council President Timothy Phelan. "We will be looking for how it fits into development of the waterfront: Would it adversely affect future development?" Cowdell said Friday.
A federal historic preservation agency will hold a meeting March 22 at Cape Cod Community College to gather public comments on the proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm.
Supporters of the wind farm need to honestly ask themselves whether they would like to have 130 huge turbines planted on their favorite public space, whether it be a mountain ridge in Vermont, a canyon in the Southwest, or an ocean vista off Key West. With a footprint larger than Manhattan, with turbines each the size of the Statue of Liberty, this industrial project is out of place in an area that borders marine sanctuaries on all sides. Nantucket Sound is a national treasure and it must be protected at all costs.
About 8,000 NStar customers who pay a premium to ensure that a portion of their electricity is generated by wind could be hit with a rate hike that will increase their monthly bills by as much as 16 percent by next month. NStar this week informed users of its NStar Green program that it has applied for a rate increase for the service with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities because of rapidly changing energy prices.
In a letter sent Wednesday to U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and John Fowler, executive director of the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, Pocasset Wampanoag Chairman George Spring Buffalo questioned contentions that the project's 130 wind turbines would interfere with tribal sunrise ceremonies. "We have asked our elders and they do not know of and have never witnessed a daily ceremony on the waters of Nantucket," Buffalo wrote in the letter.
The discussion over changing the city's wind turbine laws continues. The Planning Board agreed to discuss the proposed amendments to the law at its next meeting on March 17, following a public hearing Wednesday, where abutters of the city's only turbine in the industrial park urged them to take up the review. Others urged city officials not to make setback changes based on an "arbitrary" number and to use data to support any amendments.
After taking testimony for more than three hours at the West Barnstable fire station March 2, the commissioners all agreed that the Barnstable committee had acted properly in denying the certificate and that it had considered the energy advantages of the project as required by the statute. The recourse remaining for the applicant is an appeal to Barnstable Superior Court.
The region's electrical grid operator has determined that a $10 billion investment in transmission facilities would be needed to move energy from new wind farms to customers across New England. ISO New England's 60-page report - which put the price tag on a scenario for an additional 8,500 megawatts of wind power - is energizing critics of Cape Wind who contend the offshore project will shock ratepayers with skyrocketing bills.
The Federal Aviation Administration has ordered the town to lower the 462-foot south wind turbine by 5 feet, saying its proposed height presents a hazard to aviation from the New Bedford Regional Airport. The federal agency told officials in Dartmouth, which plans to construct two wind turbines on town-owned land off Chase Road, that the maximum allowable height for the south turbine is 457 feet.
For the first time in a public meeting, the notion of Newburyport banning wind energy conversion facilities reared its head. Two members of the joint Planning Board and City Council meeting either skirted or stated outright in a public hearing on March 3 that a ban should be considered. The joint hearing, the ninth public meeting about turbines, was called to consider amendments to the current zoning ordinance regulating the installation of wind turbines.
Voters won't be asked to approve the proposed 400-foot wind turbine at the upcoming Annual Town Meeting. But the turbine issue is far from dead. That was evident Tuesday when more than 125 people filled the senior center, many forced to stand along the walls as four speakers talked about the proposed Wellfleet turbine, in particular, and the turbines operated by the towns of Brewster, Harwich and Falmouth.
Cape Cod Community College is considering another appeal to try to get plans for a wind turbine approved. On Tuesday, the regional Old King's Highway Historic District Commission denied the college's request to overturn the Barnstable Old King's Highway decision denying approval. The college had started construction of a 245-foot, 600 Kwh wind turbine on the northwest side of campus.
Historic preservation, 5, Cape Cod Community College wind turbine, 0. Following more than four hours of passionate debate and deliberation, the Old King's Highway Regional Historic District Commission voted 5-0 yesterday to uphold a denial of the college's plan to build a 243-foot-tall turbine on its West Barnstable campus.
Barry Worth, chairman of Harwich Utility and Energy Conservation Commission, told the Oracle that the consulting engineering firm Weston and Sampson has been asked to study whether the turbines could be relocated farther away from inhabited areas such as West Tupelo Drive, Birch Road and Headwaters Road. Some residents in those neighborhoods have balked at the town placing turbines at locations they say are too close to private properties.
Despite high-profile Washington meetings and a junket to the Cape and Martha’s Vineyard last month, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has failed to resolve a dispute about Cape Wind’s potential impact on the historical preservation of Nantucket Sound. Instead, Salazar kicked the matter to the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.
The federal government's decision on the proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm is now firmly in the hands of U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. Surprising no one, negotiations between Cape Wind, Wampanoag Indian tribes on Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard and the government ground to a close today with neither side budging.