Articles filed under Zoning/Planning from Massachusetts
Plans are still on track for construction of five, 2.5-megawatt wind turbines on West Hill, according to Don McCauley, president of the Framingham-based Minuteman Wind. Voters approved a zoning bylaw that would allow the project in January. Since then, the Attorney General's office approved the bylaw and according to Jane Phinney, town clerk, the new bylaw was posted last week. "The new law says that he'll have to apply for a special permit from the town," she said.
Proposals to create a residential and agricultural zoning district for John Wise Avenue, reduce spending on the Essex Youth Commission, approve a bylaw governing windmills, and take the latest step toward selling a portion of land on Conomo Point highlight a hefty 43-article Town Meeting warrant officials expect will take until Tuesday to settle. ...The bylaw would allow building-mounted units that do not increase the height of a building by more than 20 percent, but require those looking to build free-standing structures to obtain a special permit from the Planning Board. No windmill of any kind could exceed 150 feet in height and, in an effort to limit wind farms, only one turbine would be allowed per acre of land. The bylaw also includes color, noise and setback requirements for wind power units.
Just months after House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi killed a bill that was designed to block a controversial liquefied natural gas project from being built on 73 acres in Fall River, the landowner, Jay Cashman, sold the property to the terminal developers and made a $14.2 million profit, according to a Globe review of real estate and legislative records. ...DiMasi said he sought to open up Buzzards Bay to wind farm development because he strongly supports alternative energy, not because Cashman was interested in developing the site. "We don't talk about those things. It was all policy-driven," DiMasi said. Cashman declined to be interviewed. His spokesman, George Regan, said Cashman did not discuss his financial interest in the LNG terminal in Fall River or in the wind farm in Buzzards Bay with the speaker.
Looking to encourage the use of renewable wind energy while protecting the rights of residents wary of large windmills looming above the countryside, Planning Board members say they are open to tweaking parts of their proposed wind-energy bylaw at Town Meeting. ...For turbines not attached to buildings, the new bylaw would bar units on free-standing towers from exceeding 150 feet and would require them to be located one-and-a-quarter times their height away from the nearest property line, public road or utility lines. Owners would be required to get a special permit from the Planning Board, but not a variance. Holton said the Planning Board had reached a consensus on not wanting large commercial wind farms or towers in town since the lack of large, elevated, open parcels in Essex makes such endeavors better suited to other towns.
The Fairhaven wind project is one step closer to the finish line after being approved by the Conservation Commission Tuesday night, but it still needs to get past the Planning Board. A public hearing on the project was held before the Planning Board Tuesday; after more than two hours of public comment and questions, the board voted to continue the hearing to May 6. About 20 people attended the hearing. Fourteen of them raised their hands when asked by the chairman if they were opposed to the proposed site of the two turbines. "No one is saying here that wind turbines are bad," said Ann DeNardis, a resident who spoke against the project. "What you are saying is this is not the location for wind power in this town."
Webb Research is applying for a special permit from the Falmouth Zoning Board of Appeals to construct a 1.5-megawatt wind turbine on its property in the technology park. ...Colin P. Murphy, of Blacksmith Shop Road, also objected to the size of the proposed turbine, saying said that the large size is not necessary because 75 percent of the profits will be sold anyway, referring to Mr. Webb's statement that the company will use about 25 percent of the turbine's energy output and sell the rest into the grid. "He wants to coat his pockets and he wants to go home," Mr. Murphy said, adding that he thinks allowing the turbine would set a precedent for other turbines to be built in the park. "You don't think everyone else in the tech park is going to do it?"
The Planning Board will recommend that voters at the annual town meeting May 5 pass over the proposed bylaw that would allow the erection of wind turbines in the community. ...The action was hardly a surprise, since both Town Planner Micelle Buck and Planning Board chairman Debra Friedman had told selectmen Monday that the board had significant reservations about approving the measure without more thorough study. Ms. Buck said Monday that the board had not had time to fully evaluate the draft bylaw, based on one approved in another community and submitted by selectmen as a model, and felt it would need revision and could not be adopted "as is."
Douglas C. Webb, owner of Webb Research Corporation, is applying to the board of appeals for a special permit to install a 1.5-megawatt turbine on the company's property in the Falmouth Technology Park. ...The base of the turbine is planned to be 15 feet in diameter and 262 feet high, and the blade is 126 feet, according to the project's application on file with the town. Douglas Webb's son, Daniel H. Webb, who is president of Webb Research, has said that the turbine would provide energy for the company, and that any additional energy would be sold back into the regional power grid. Daniel Webb is also president of Notus Clean Energy, which will install the wind turbine. Though the only direct abutter to the property is Cape Cod Aggregates Corporation in the technology park, residents who live nearby have brought up concerns about the installation of the turbine.
The Zoning Board of Appeals will hold a hearing Thursday night on constructing a 164-foot-high tower at the Worcester Envelope Co. to determine whether a wind turbine is feasible there. The company is seeking to build a temporary tower that would gather information on wind speed and direction, according to the application for a special permit. ...If the test tower shows there would be enough wind, the company would purchase a 1.5 megawatt wind turbine that would cost between $3 million and $4 million, Mr. Pond said. That structure would be about 380 feet tall and it would be in the middle of Worcester Envelope's 7.3 acres at 24 Millbury St., Mr. Pond said.
A dispute over transmission lines for the proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm landed in court this week. ...Barnstable officials filed a complaint in Barnstable Superior Court Wednesday claiming the Cape Cod Commission has exclusive jurisdiction over the transmission cables that would link the turbines to the shoreline. In October, the commission rejected a plan to have the transmission cables make landfall in Barnstable, and Cape Wind appealed that decision to the state Energy Facilities Siting Board. In the complaint filed Wednesday, Barnstable officials contend the state Energy Facilities Siting Board does not have the authority to review the commission's denial of the transmission lines.
Brooks made the comment during the Planning Board's April 7 meeting. Members were discussing the Annual Town Meeting at which voters rejected a citizen's petition to allow residential wind turbine by right. Enough support was voiced that the board could bring a new wind bylaw forward, said Brooks. ...Former associate planner Leo Blair, recently elected to the Board of Selectmen, attended the meeting to encourage the board to continue working on a wind-energy bylaw.
For weeks, Yaakov Cohn wrestled with the ramifications of alternative energy. His wind turbine research found him delving into German court cases and poring over studies from Wisconsin. Last night, the fruits of those labors were presented to the Planning Board in the form of a 10-page proposal that would establish a wind turbine bylaw. The measure sets guidelines for turbine height, noise, and blade glint, or shadows. However, in its current form, the measure may not draw the board's endorsement or pass at Town Meeting.
Wind power in Kingston is on its way after Town Meeting approved the creation of a wind energy enterprise fund. All the town needs now is permission from the Legislature to form it. Eventually, the fund would allow the town to finance, install and operate one or more turbines, but for now the fund will only allow the town to apply for grants to study the possibility of installing turbines that would generate 1.5 to two megawatts at the wastewater treatment plant or other town properties. The article met resistance from some abutters and particularly from Selectman Paul Gallagher, who was concerned that the article would allow the town to form a wind energy department.
Edgartown and the Martha's Vineyard Commission have formally joined the fracas over the wind farm proposed for Nantucket Sound. In a petition filed last week with the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board, the Edgartown selectmen declared, for the first time, their opposition to what they consider to be Cape Wind Associates' attempt to circumvent local permitting authorities. ... "In the event that (the siting board) concludes that it may circumvent and override the (Cape Cod Commission), the town advances that such a decision would undermine the authority of the (Martha's Vineyard Commission) and would be detrimental to the town's interests," the selectmen wrote in their petition to intervene. The Edgartown selectmen also raised concerns over the company's attempts to get around local permitting authorities in Yarmouth and Barnstable.
The town of Edgartown moved this week to formally join the fight against Cape Wind, both out of specific concern about the impact of the project and a broader concern about the erosion of the powers of local government. On Monday the selectmen authorized town counsel Ronald H. Rappaport to file a motion to intervene in the proceedings before the Energy Facilities Siting Board in support of the Cape Cod Commission and the towns of Yarmouth and Barnstable, which oppose Cape Wind. The argument centers on whether or not the siting board - a state agency which is charged with ensuring a reliable energy supply - has the power to bundle and grant all the state and local permits needed to build its huge wind farm in Nantucket Sound.
With Bay State ocean-based wind energy projects languishing and demand for renewable energy climbing, a top energy official said Wednesday, April 2, that land-based wind development is both an opportunity and a challenge for Massachusetts. Swampscott has investigated the possibility of placing wind turbines in town, most recently through efforts of the Renewable Energy Committee. New England wind energy industry leaders said the land-based wind industry is robust and capable of producing 9,500 megawatts of wind power. Land-based community projects are on the rise in New England, despite stalled high-profile projects like Cape Wind, said industry officials.
The Planning Board will wait till next year to try to pass a bylaw governing the construction of wind turbines, after determining this week that the version making its way to Town Meeting still needs work. ...The board has been crafting the bylaw for months, out of a desire to streamline the permitting process for property owners interested in building turbines, while giving the board control over the turbines' size and where they can be located. Last year the board was faced with a proposal from John Donovan, the owner of Manchester Athletic Club, to build a turbine on his Atwater Avenue property. The board realized existing town bylaws did not account for windmills and any applicant looking to build one would have to seek a daunting series of variances from the Zoning Board of Appeals.
I respectfully disagree with Councilor George's conclusions regarding the Emerson Avenue wind turbine project and the Gloucester Zoning Ordinance criteria. First, Section 5.22.3(c) clearly states that the location must minimize "adverse visual" impacts. The City Council certainly had visual impacts in mind, or they would not have approved including the word "visual." Additionally, the applicant has not met all the criteria, because they are unable to meet the setback requirements. They are seeking an exception to the current law. If they truly met all the criteria, a waiver would not be necessary.
Over the course of two days, the selectmen's warrant articles proposing private and commercial wind turbine bylaws got blown off the table. At a March 27 work-session meeting, the board unanimously voted to pull both its articles from the town warrant. Now, a petitioned article will be the only one proposing a wind energy facility bylaw on this year's warrant. ...Unfortunately for proponents of the selectmen's bylaw, the mix-up may have revealed that board's own indecision about the bylaw.
Harvard residents may eventually have the chance to - as the Scottish folk singer Donovan put it - catch the wind. But not just yet. Voters at the annual town meeting yesterday rejected a citizen's petition that would have allowed residents to erect wind turbines for individual use. ...The question required a two-thirds' majority to pass. Moderator David Westerling did not tally the vote - residents waved yellow slips of paper - but the split appeared to be roughly half and half.