Library filed under Zoning/Planning from Massachusetts
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!
A continuous protest at the meeting’s opening led Liz Argo, a consultant for Cape and Vineyard Electric Co-operative, who was overseeing the presentation for CVEC, to terminate the event less than nine minutes after it was to begin.
The hearings are over and now it's up to the planning board to decide a 410-foot wind turbine will be built on Turkey Hill in Cohasset. The proposal for the 1.8-megawatt turbine has drawn opposition from some Hingham residents who live near the site. The planning board could vote on the matter at its meeting next week.
As the Trustees of Reservation proposal to place an 80-meter wind turbine on Turkey Hill works its way through the Planning Board special permit process, the Alternative Energy Committee is making final rounds to various boards with a revised wind conversion facility bylaw.
The hearing was an appeal of Falmouth Building and Zoning Commissioner Eladio R. Gore's determination that the turbine is a municipal use and therefore did not require a special permit from the board of appeals. At stake was whether the town-owned turbine should be shut down with a cease and desist order from the board of appeals. The appellant argued the town did not follow its own zoning bylaws.
Andersen said he wants the town to shut the turbine off until a mitigation plan is created. "I'm just hoping someone will please turn it off until it gets figured out," he said. "That thing is dangerous. If it doesn't get stopped we'll be forced to move. Our house is uninhabitable."
The planning board is recommending a moratorium on the siting of wind turbines in town, as well as increased scrutiny at the county level. On Tuesday, the board voted unanimously to submit an article for April's town meeting asking voters to approve a one-year moratorium on the siting of wind turbines.
The bylaw would replace the existing town bylaw, which has only minimal requirements and refers to the devices as windmills, and institute a series of noise limits and setback requirements from existing single-family homes and single-family home districts.
The Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates this week rejected proposed review standards for land-based wind turbines, and is considering an unprecedented step to protect Cape Cod while those regulations undergo further review. The ordinance would have amended the energy section of the county’s Regional Policy Plan (RPP) and established minimum performance standards.
Among those speaking was Susan Daniels, a Glacier Way resident who would be some 800 feet away from the closest of the proposed turbines. She said the 492-foot structure, from base to blade tip, would dominate the sky and be visible from her bedroom and living room windows. She made a heartfelt plea that the project be denied.
In the face of fierce opposition, the Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates has rejected standards for local wind energy projects, calling the proposed regulations too lenient. Instead, the county's legislative body may now consider a yearlong moratorium on all wind turbines across Cape Cod, potentially setting county officials at odds with state policies and wind energy proponents.
In a three-tiered motion proposed by Robert Budway, Town Council president, the council also voted to amend the zoning ordinance to, "Specifically preclude wind turbines in excess of 36 feet until such time as the ordinance may be further amended to allow such based upon demonstration of wind turbine efficacy and safety."
More than 70 abutters and residents filled the seats in the Mayflower Room at Town Hall, many voicing vehement opposition to the proposal they say would destroy their quality of life, drastically reduce property values, be an overall nuisance and a possible health hazard.
"We don't (have bylaws) and that's what we're working on," said Jain. "They asked us if we were working on something that was related to alternative energy facilities, and said they would like to participate in that so that they can participate in the discussion and provide any expertise that relates to new technology.
Partly in response to the growing public concern over wind, the Barnstable Assembly of Delegates committee on government regulations voted 3-2 on Nov. 3 to recommend imposing wind regulations to the full assembly during the Nov. 17 full meeting.
The committee narrowly recommended the proposed regulations, 3-2, Wednesday after two hours of public testimony from more than a dozen people at the Assembly of Delegates chamber. ...Without the proposed rules, the Cape Cod Commission would be unable to impose any standards at all for wind energy projects.
ZBA chair Lois Barbour summarized the reasons for the board's decision, saying, "This would be detrimental to the neighborhood and is not currently an allowed use. It would significantly alter the character of the zoning district, which does not allow commercial enterprises.