Library filed under Zoning/Planning from Massachusetts
The new bylaw effectively places a moratorium on larger turbines by requiring setbacks from residential areas that are impossible under the town's current layout. The five-turbine New Generation Wind project proposed for Bournedale is exempt from the new restrictions because project plans were filed before the bylaw was in place.
“Our group, Wind Wise Massachusetts, has called for a moratorium until health effects are known,” said Virginia Irvine, one of the main organizers of No Brimfield Wind and a board member of Wind Wise. “There are quite a few of us who were active in Brimfield at various levels and are now with the statewide group,” Irvine said.
When a new bylaw spelling out regulations on future wind turbine construction in Falmouth is written, it will likely be the result of a consensus-building process among town officials, developers, and abutters of the controversial Wind 1 turbine.
New Generation plans a controversial four-turbine wind farm off Scenic Highway and Route 25 north of the canal with structures reaching 492 feet to the tip of the blades. The original plan was for seven turbines, which would have dramatically changed canal vistas.
Nearly a year ago, the board "found that there are health effects and nuisances" associated with wind turbines and decided to create regulations, according to the board's draft of its proposed regulations.
The Zoning Board of Appeals delayed a decision on a wind turbine proposal until the state Attorney General's Office reviews a bylaw change that puts the project in jeopardy.
After hearing nearly three hours of emotional debate, Bourne Planning Board members chose not to make a positive or negative recommendation for the New Generation Wind project proposed for Bournedale. Instead, the panel voted 8-1 to recommend further study of the project and to have board chairman Christopher Farrell make a presentation to voters.
County officials approved standards for land-based wind turbines Wednesday but sent a 65-foot height threshold for Cape Cod Commission review back to the drawing board.
During its regular meeting, the Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates approved new standards for noise, shadow flicker and other aspects of wind energy projects that are reviewed by the commission.
The board members voted to continue studying the complex issues and the impacts of proposed changes, both to all areas of the town and to applicants proposing or opposing projects. Unless or until such a study is complete and a report of the planning board issued, the article cannot be voted on at Town Meeting.
Furious maneuvering behind the scenes at Town Hall on Friday resurrected hopes that a citizen-petition zoning amendment request to limit industrial-grade turbines in Bourne - if not eliminate the ability to construct them - could be discussed at a May Town Meeting.
Bourne Town Planner Coreen Moore says the warrant article as now crafted would indeed make it impossible for New Generation Wind to build its wind farm anywhere in town, except possible Otis air base. ...The amendment does not prohibit any size turbines, but it only regulates distance according to scale.
The citizen-petition article is headed to the May 2 Bourne Annual Town Meeting. It would dramatically alter the zoning bylaw governing review of turbine proposals and also expand setbacks to 10 times the width of the blades; among other features.
The Barnstable County Commissioners want to hear from county attorney Robert Troy before their vote to send proposed wind regulations to the Assembly of Delegates for a public hearing and vote, or not.
One of three citizen-inspired articles on the draft warrant dealing with turbines, Article 40 would amend the board of selectmen's authorization to negotiate with the Cape and Vineyard Electric Cooperative to "not site any Medium-Scale Wind Energy Turbine or Large-Scale Wind Energy Turbine within 1.2 miles of the nearest residence."
On Tuesday the board was divided, with Mr. Murphy and Mr. Foreman arguing that Mr. Gore had erred in not requiring the town to apply for a special permit to erect the wind turbine. On the other side were Mr. Erickson and Ms. Johnson who defended Mr. Gore's ruling. Who is right? Based on what the board's attorney, Mark Bobrowski of Concord, said, it is a gray area based upon inconsistencies in the town's zoning bylaws.
The challenge the board faces at Town Meeting is to convince the public that there is a need for the bylaw. Planning Board Chairman Stephen Themelis was quick to point out that without a bylaw, almost anything could be constructed anywhere in town without consideration of the permitting restrictions defined in the proposed bylaw. "With no bylaw, anything goes," he said.
Regional planning agencies on both the Cape and Vineyard released draft plans last month to deal with wind-energy projects in state waters under their jurisdiction. The Martha's Vineyard Commission's model regulations for island towns also cover land-based turbines, while the Cape Cod Commission is handling terrestrial projects with a separate set of rules.
The commission sought to get some parameters on the books to address land-based turbines, while the Assembly wanted a more complete and restrictive set of guidelines. The draft sets a 65-foot height at the blade tip threshold for review and addresses four main areas: clear zones, noise, shadow flicker and decommissioning.
The concerned citizen expects his or her protection to be the guiding principal employed when examining ALL projects, no matter their location. A power plant has it's own unique package of ills. It's comedic classification as a waste water treatment plant has served to bypass those ills, by-pass planning, zoning and health board review, and by-pass the special permit process design to give the common, concerned citizen their say!