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Harwich turns its back on wind turbines

In a big showdown over wind power, neighbors of two proposed 400-foot tall industrial wind turbines drew enough voters to town meeting to kill the town's eight-year-long push for the clean energy project. "When this matter came up eight years ago, everybody thought wind energy was a good thing," Ed McManus, chairman of the board of selectmen, told a suddenly hushed town meeting last night.

HARWICH - In a big showdown over wind power, neighbors of two proposed 400-foot tall industrial wind turbines drew enough voters to town meeting to kill the town's eight-year-long push for the clean energy project.

"When this matter came up eight years ago, everybody thought wind energy was a good thing," Ed McManus, chairman of the board of selectmen, told a suddenly hushed town meeting last night.

"We have learned since November that there are a lot of concerns, enough to cause you to vote against continuing to go on."

With that, the selectmen and finance committee agreed that opposition from the owners of 400 homes within 3,000 feet of the proposed turbines would be enough to rescind last November's vote to site the turbines on town-owned land in North Harwich.

Even opponents of the wind turbines were surprised by the decision after months of asking town officials to pay more attention to their concerns about the turbines' potential noise and flickering shadows on their health and property values.

"I can't tell you how relieved I am that you are willing to listen to us. Thank you," resident Barbara Grasso told McManus.

Harwich is the latest Cape town to pull out of a... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

HARWICH - In a big showdown over wind power, neighbors of two proposed 400-foot tall industrial wind turbines drew enough voters to town meeting to kill the town's eight-year-long push for the clean energy project.

"When this matter came up eight years ago, everybody thought wind energy was a good thing," Ed McManus, chairman of the board of selectmen, told a suddenly hushed town meeting last night.

"We have learned since November that there are a lot of concerns, enough to cause you to vote against continuing to go on."

With that, the selectmen and finance committee agreed that opposition from the owners of 400 homes within 3,000 feet of the proposed turbines would be enough to rescind last November's vote to site the turbines on town-owned land in North Harwich.

Even opponents of the wind turbines were surprised by the decision after months of asking town officials to pay more attention to their concerns about the turbines' potential noise and flickering shadows on their health and property values.

"I can't tell you how relieved I am that you are willing to listen to us. Thank you," resident Barbara Grasso told McManus.

Harwich is the latest Cape town to pull out of a municipal wind energy project after years of study. Wellfleet selectmen recently stopped a similar effort after growing concerns about its financial viability and impact on the environment.

Harwich officials spent years in pursuit of the promised $100,000 annual lease payments for the town-owned sites, and turbines that would supply 100-percent of the town's energy needs plus generate revenue from electricity sales.

But opposition to the project, which has been growing for months, reached a critical mass last night and neighbor after neighbor stood up to criticize the town's plans. Many neighbors had scoured the Internet to find out about projects in other parts of the world and their impacts.

"There is no other place in the world with 400 homes to be influenced by the proposed windmills," resident Fred Allen said. "You'd think at least some of these issues would be settled before you asked us to vote on them."

In the first of five turbine-related articles, a 251-24 vote cut off debate and defeated the proposal to expand the project's financing options. It was enough to convince the selectmen and finance committee to change their plans.

If town meeting reverses last fall's decision to approve siting of the wind power project, as was expected after the Times' press deadline last night, it would mark the end of the town's consideration of wind energy, McManus said. Grant money will disappear and the town will turn to other forms of energy production, such as solar panels on town buildings, he said.

After the Times' press deadline Monday night, voters took the first step in a two-town push to preserve 38 acres near municipal drinking water supply wells north of Route 28. After a spirited debate, voters approved spending $338,000 in Community Preservation Act money, with another $162,000 promised from the Cape Cod Commission, to buy the undeveloped property in Harwich that abuts the towns' shared boundary.

Next week, Chatham voters will be asked for $500,000 in CPA money for that town's share of the $2 million price. Both towns will seek $500,000 each in state grants and divide the land, if purchased, down the middle.

The property's appraised value is $2.2 million. If the towns don't get the state grants, the CPA money would be freed up for other uses, town officials said.


Source: http://www.capecodonline.co...

MAY 5 2010
https://www.windaction.org/posts/26071-harwich-turns-its-back-on-wind-turbines
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